Tweed councillor James Owen. Photo: Scott Powick
Tweed councillor James Owen. Photo: Scott Powick

Why this councillor thinks change is needed in mayoral vote

TWEED councillor James Owen has confirmed he will not be nominating for the council's top job in tomorrow's vote.

However, Cr Owen has thrown criticism at the mayoral election process claiming when decided by councillors political allegiances determine the leadership positions.

This term of Tweed Shire Council has often seen a four councillors to three vote divide on contentious issues.

During council meetings it is common to see typically left leaning councillors - outgoing Greens mayor Katie Milne, deputy mayor Chris Cherry, Cr Ron Cooper and Labour's Cr Reece Byrnes - voting in unison.

This has been raised as an issue for those seen to be on the on the conservative ticket like Nationals' Cr Warren Polglase, Cr Pryce Allsop and Liberal's James Owen.

"When the Mayor and Deputy Mayor are decided by their fellow councillors, the majority block essentially determines who takes these positions, and over the last four

years we have seen these roles passed around between that block of said councillors," Cr Owen said.

"I would like to see the Tweed Shire move towards a system whereby the Mayor is elected by the residents, and that they fulfil the role for the entire term. That to me is true democracy."

With the mayoral vote set for this Thursday's meeting, Cr Owen has said he will support Cr Cherry who will nominate for the mayor's position as well as Cr Byrnes' aspiration for deputy mayor.

"I've been overwhelmed, and completely humbled, by the number of people who have contacted me to ask me to put my hand up for Mayor or Deputy Mayor," he said.

"While it is something I would be honoured to do, the reality is I don't have the numbers."