This evening, the mayor for the 2008 year was elected at Maroondah’s Statutory Meeting. In previous years, the election of the mayor had been informally decided at a private meeting with councillors on the preceding Monday, with the statutory council meeting being nothing more than a mere formality to approve the decision.
This year however, Councillor’s Jo-anne Taylor, Maureen Naylor and myself were successful in abolishing the informal meeting, meaning that the process was conducted in the council chamber resulting in greater transparency and accountability over the election of mayor.
This year, as preempted by the Maroondah Journal, there were two nominations for the position of Mayor, myself and Cr. Tony Dib.
Cr. Natalie Thomas nominated Cr. Dib, with the nomination being seconded by Cr. Les Willmott. Cr. Maureen Naylor nominated me for the position, supported by Cr. Jo-anne Taylor.
With two nominations, Cr. Naylor requested that the nominees speak in support of their nominations. This was objected to by Cr. Wilmott who claimed that the mayoral election was a ‘procedural motion’ and did not require debate. This view was supported by Cr. Peter Gurr, the chair of the meeting, who ruled that debate was not allowed.
This is unfortunate, since it denies the community the opportunity to hear from the mayoral candidates and also prevents the candidates from outlining their vision for Maroondah over the coming year. It also brings into question the openness of the process with there being no opportunity to distinguish between candidates.
Maroondah’s meeting procedures are defined in local law 3 with the election of mayor and acting chairman being discussed in Part 2. While this part does not include a clause on debate, it does not explicitly exclude it as a possibility.
With debate being denied, the vote was conducted with Cr. Tony Dib being elected mayor with four votes (Cr. Dib, Cr. Gurr, Cr. Thomas and Cr. Wilmott) against three (Cr. Naylor, Cr. Thomas and Cr. Makin). It is unfortunate that despite improvements to the openness of council, that some decisions are still evidently being made behind closed doors.
I would like thank Cr. Maureen Naylor and Cr. Jo-anne Taylor for their support of my nomination this evening. When I was elected back in November 2005 it was fair to say that I was considered an outsider to Maroondah Council, given my background in community advocacy which at times meant I was critical of the council’s decisions. To be in a position where some of my colleagues have acknowledged the work I have devoted to council and the wider community is a testament to both Maureen and Jo-anne.
I would also like to thank the many members of the community who encouraged me to consider nominating for mayor. While my nomination was unsuccessful, it is great to know that many community members appreciate the work I have undertaken as a councillor for the City of Maroondah.
This work will continue as we enter the new year. In particular I plan to continue my focus on improving the accessibility and sustainability of Maroondah. Works are scheduled to progress on the Ringwood Transit City during 2008 and it is imperative that this is done correctly as this unfolds so as to avoid costly mistakes at a later stage.
Thank you once again to everyone that has appreciated my commitment as a councillor, I remain committed to Loughnan’s Hill Ward and the broader City of Maroondah.
Cr Alex Makin
Councillor for Loughnan’s Hill Ward
City of Maroondah