Mayor walks out during debate

Mayor walks out during debate

City of Gosnells mayor Glenn Dewhurst. Photograph - Juanita Shepherd.

City of Gosnells mayor Glenn Dewhurst walked out of a council meeting this week after his fellow councillors took him to task over recent comments made to the media.

Councillor David Goode put forward a motion at council on Tuesday night condemning the comments made by the mayor on the basis that many of the comments were inaccurate and unnecessarily adversely reflected on council.

He said a number of his statements and claims needed to be corrected otherwise they could have potential damage to the reputation of the city.

Councillor Goode cited recent quotes Mayor Dewhurst made to a media outlet including: “I’m certainly on a mission and the feedback I’m getting is the council certainly needs a shake-up” and “Not just a shake-up for the sake of a shake-up but to actually drive economic benefits, jobs and growth”.

In response to recent critcism, Mr Dewhurst told The Examiner he had spoken to chief executive Ian Cowie before Tuesday night’s meeting and said the best thing for him and council was not to be there.

“I thought, you know what, they are fixated on me and probably the best thing to do is take away the thing that they are fixated on and let them vent and air what they need to do,” he said.

Councillors Ron Mitchell, Peter Abetz, Dave Griffiths and Olwen Searle all weighed in on the mayor’s recent remarks and all councillors voted in support of Mr Goode’s motion, resulting in a unanimous nine to zero vote.

Ms Searle, who was voted to sit in as standing mayor due to deputy mayor Terresa Lynes’ absence, said as the old girl on the block she had seen a number of undesirable events involving the mayor prior to this one.

“There is nothing we can do about the mayor; he is here for the next 18 months,” she said.

“In October last year nine councillors did not want Dewhurst as the mayor… we got him out of a barrel and we have to live with that barrel.

“We want to succeed, we want our mayor to be a good mayor. We will support him, he has just got to work with us.”

Mr Mitchell said it was unfortunate that Mr Dewhurst decided to leave the chambers as many of the councillors had questions about his recent behaviour and comments.

“I hope he hears this and I hope he reflects on what he is saying out there in the community,” he said.

Since the meeting Mr Dewhurst said his phone was running hot with people telling him what had happened at council and that he would probably listen to the audio recording of the meeting during a flight to Canberra for council business.

He said he was willing to work with his fellow councillors for what was good for the City of Gosnells.

“The councillors are politically aligning themselves and think they are doing a good thing by the city by doing what they are doing,” he said.

“It is their democratic right to do that but it is not doing the city any good.

“My focus is on the city, making sure people have food on the table, making sure people can afford power, making sure the welfare of people and creating jobs.”