Councillors concerns over Mayor’s leadership

File photo
05th Feb 2020
Janelle Stewart

Seven Councillors who called on ARC Mayor Simon Murray to resign said that they asked for a vote of no confidence after exhausting every other avenue.
Speaking on behalf of the group at an extraordinary meeting held on Friday morning, Cr Margaret
O’Connor said that since his winning the mayoral vote by one vote in September, two more councillors have lost confidence in his leadership.
They met with him on January 16th asking him to step down as a result. She said that his refusal to step down led to the extraordinary meeting being called asking for a vote of no confidence.
Cr O’Connor said that the last two years have seen an increasing number of councillors meeting with him to implore him to listen their concerns around his leadership and that at the January 16th meeting Cr Murray reiterated that he was unwilling to work at all with four councillors.
Cr O’Connor cited his failure to consult with colleagues and lost funding opportunities as some of the reasons behind their dissatisfaction. She also claimed that the Mayor failed to ask for input and provide feedback when representing council at regional, state and national level as well as the regional Joint Organisation.
Cr O’Connor alleged that councillors are being starved of information which would allow them to make good decisions informed by all the facts, claiming that questions asked by councillors are being ignored and documents withheld. She also said that two Councillors have been banned from speaking to staff and believes it is the Mayor's job to step in and resolve the problem which he has refused to do.
Other concerns were being blocked from engaging with the community and excluded from decision making over water policies.
“Losing confidence in Cr Murray as our leader is the one and only reason we need to ask the Mayor to step down,” Cr O’Connor said.
“We owe a duty to the community to put in our best performance, if we think our Mayor is blocking us and damaging the public interest we must act regardless of criticism.”
“Taking no action would be even more damaging and neglecting our duty to the community. This is not a personal matter between the seven councillors and Cr Murray. It is a matter of the public interest.
“We must move forward as best we can to serve our community to the max. And we must have full disclosure of matters for which we are responsible. We want to deliver more to our community and to properly exercise our responsibilities.
“We have seven precious months left of this council. We can't waste any more time. We must face up to the big issues here - drought and bushfire recovery, climate change, economic growth, sustainable water supplies and infrastructure needs.”