Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons (left) will face a challenge for the position from Councillor Karen Toms (right) at an extraordinary council meeting on Tuesday.
Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons (left) will face a challenge for the position from Councillor Karen Toms (right) at an extraordinary council meeting on Tuesday.

History shows Cr Simmons could keep mayor role

Who should be the Clarence Valley Council Mayor in 2020/21?

This poll ended on 21 September 2020.

Current Results

Cr Andrew Baker

9%

Cr Arthur Lysaught

4%

Cr Debrah Novak

7%

Cr Greg Clancy

0%

Cr Jason Kingsley

5%

Cr Jim Simmons

22%

Cr Karen Toms

31%

Cr Peter Ellem

0%

Cr Richie Williamson

16%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

IF HISTORY is anything to go by, there won't be a new mayor this week when Clarence Valley Council holds an extraordinary meeting to elect a leader for the 2020-21 term.

Councillors will meet on Tuesday to elect the roles Mayor and Deputy Mayor for the next 12 months until the next local government elections are held, which are currently scheduled for September 4, 2021.

Current titleholder Cr Jim Simmons said last week he intended to nominate again for Mayor, and said while it wasn't necessarily an easy decision, he honoured and respected the position.

"It's for a 12-month period and I (would be) honoured," he said.

The title does have a challenger, however, with Cr Karen Toms entering the ring last week to contend for the title.

"I am putting my hat in the ring as they say and I have written to all the councillors seeking their support," she said last week.

"I think I have the communication skills, am inclusive and can chair a meeting well.

"I am intending to stand next year as well (if re-elected) and see it as an opportunity … to promote the region."

History does not favour the challenger however, with the incumbent proving hard to dislodge in past elections.

Analysis by The Daily Examiner has revealed there's only been one election since the formation of the Clarence Valley Council that has seen a Mayor deposed from the title, which was in 2008 when challenger Cr Richie Williamson unseated the council's first Mayor Ian Tiley.

"History would prove the incumbent is hard to beat, and I expect that to again be the case on Tuesday," Cr Williamson said.

"I think everyone has a fair idea of who should be going to lead or continue to lead the council, and I think it will be a pretty simple and open vote which should be the easiest and fairest for all and I think it'll be over very quickly."

According to the Extraordinary Council Meeting Business Papers, since there's more than one candidate expected to be nominated before any votes are called for, the councillors will need to decide if the vote will be an ordinary ballot, which is secret, or if it will be an open ballot.

In the nine mayoral elections held since amalgamation in 2005, four ballots have been open, while two have been secret. One election was preferential as more than two candidates nominated, while Cr Simmons was elected as Mayor unopposed in 2018. It is unclear how the 2008 ballot was conducted.

Cr Williamson said his preference is for all Mayor and Deputy Mayor votes to be open.

"Personally I think they should be open, why not? If people want open and transparent governance all the time, that must include the Mayor votes and there's nothing to hide," he said.

"I don't think there's any advantage one way or the other. In any mayoral election everyone has to make up their own mind as to who is best to lead the council and I think most people have already made their mind."

Cr Williamson declined to reveal his scorecard for the title fight, so tune in on Tuesday to see who emerges from the election with the title.