Let the people decide
IT IS understandable that three Toodyay shire councillors say they won’t resign before the next local government elections in October.
The trio say they were elected in 2017 for four-year terms and are entitled by law to remain in office until 2021.
It is valid for them to argue that council elections are deliberately staggered so that only half the members face voters every two years to avoid disruption if all are unseated at one fell swoop.
But the rules have changed, and this is no ordinary council.Read more
This council squandered more than half a million dollars of ratepayers’ money on failed legal actions against two former civic leaders and is now under a formal State Government inquiry.
The three councillors were all deeply involved in decisions that led to the inquiry, as well as the cover-up that tried to keep ratepayers in the dark about how much public money was wasted on legal fees.
That attitude of secrecy continues with the council’s recent secret backflip on the shire CEO’s job, his 2.5 per cent pay rise and a new $1000-a-day salary package.
Most of Toodyay’s 2500 electors didn’t get a chance to vote for the three councillors under the old system.
Worse still, nobody voted for the shire president because no other candidates contested his now abolished ward seat.
That absurdity is unlikely to happen again under the council’s new voting rules.
Cr Bill Manning is correct to say that the council will gain greater legitimacy in the eyes of the community if the three councillors resign and allow all electors to determine their future.
The alternative is a lop-sided council in which six members will have been elected by a majority of all voters and three by only a few – where is the equity in that?
If the three councillors believe they have done a good job on the council, they should have no fear of standing for re-election in October.
To do otherwise suggests only that they fear an electoral backlash from a community that has had a gutful of public money being wasted and excessive secrecy.
Let the people decide.