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City of Swan council.

Publicly elected mayor unlikely in 2021

By Claire Ottaviano

A MOTION to change the method of electing the City of Swan mayor will come before Council next week.

The motion, by Cr Claire Scanlan, asks for a report on the process and implications of changing the election method from Council elected to publicly elected.

Cr Scanlan said the idea should be given further thought after the community expressed interest in the method change at the March 2021 Annual Electors’ Meeting.

In response to the proposed motion, City staff said under the Local Government Act 1995, a decision on the election method must be made at least 80 days before the October Local Government elections.

To meet the notice period a decision would need to be made before July 28.

“A change of this nature has complex implications that Council would need to understand before making such a decision,” the report said.

“These implications include the requirement to undertake a ward boundary and elected member representation review, as the Council will need to ensure compliance with Councillor numbers and appropriate ongoing representation within the ward structure.

“It would be unlikely that the administration would be able to perform these functions prior to July 28 as a comprehensive analysis would need to be conducted that would incorporate community consultation.”

Swan elector Naomi Jenkin moved the motion to publicly elect the mayor in March.

At the June Council meeting, councillors supported staff’s recommendation to consider the method of mayoral election during the City’s next ward and representation review.

“This work could not be completed to allow such a change to occur prior to the Ordinary Council Election scheduled for October 2021,” the council report said.

“The City last completed a ward and representation review in 2017, with elector numbers currently sitting well within the ward parameters.

“When the City next undertakes a ward review, the method of electing the mayor could be considered as part of that review.”

The Council may also consider a referendum to be appropriate.

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