HAVE YOUR SAY

Northern beaches mayoral election: Amon's gathering support to run against mayor Michael Regan

TWO HORSE RACE: Incumbent mayor Michael Regan and councillor Rory Amon who will run against him at the mayor election on Tuesday. Picture: Simon Bennett, Geoff Jones
TWO HORSE RACE: Incumbent mayor Michael Regan and councillor Rory Amon who will run against him at the mayor election on Tuesday. Picture: Simon Bennett, Geoff Jones

NARRABEEN Ward councillor Rory Amon has put his hand up for the role of mayor, even though if successful he could only have the job for a couple of months.

Covid has forced the delay of local government elections twice, and it's meant that many mayors, including in the northern beaches, will finish their term this month, two months before the next local election.

With the council elections set down for December 4, it means that whoever is voted in as mayor at council's meeting on Tuesday, September 28 might only be in the role for a little over two months.

While Cr David Walton said he considered running as mayor, he would not self-nominate at Tuesday's election. Other councillors issued a firm no when asked if they would run as mayor, including Vincent De Luca, Penny Philpott, Pat Daley, Stuart Sprott, Sue Heins, Kylie Ferguson, Sarah Grattan and Alex McTaggart.

Cr Amon, who unsuccessfully ran against Cr Regan as mayor at the 2019 elections, said ratepayers deserved better service, less wasted money and lower rates.

Councillor Rory Amon. Picture: Geoff Jones

Councillor Rory Amon. Picture: Geoff Jones

"The amalgamated council has not realised its full potential, there's so much more that council could be doing," he said. "We're about to come out of lockdown and we need a council to be at its best to support the community."

Cr Amon highlighted data from the Office of Local Government that showed northern beaches residential ratepayers paid 30 per cent higher costs than comparable councils, $1458 to $1117. The OLG data also shows northern beaches business ratepayers are pay 39 per cent less at $3836 compared to $6319.

The amalgamated council has not realised its full potential.

Councillor Rory Amon

The mayor has hit back and said Cr Amon "selectively chooses the figures he wants to suit his own political arguments". "He rallies against the outcomes of amalgamation like harmonised rates, but it was his Liberal Party's policy," he said.

"We'd all love to reduce rates more than we have, but northern beaches enjoys a very high level of service, in many cases higher than other comparable councils. We invest heavily in repair and renewal of our local infrastructure and our solid financial position has allowed us to provide millions of dollars in support to ratepayers and businesses throughout the pandemic including a rate rebate."

Mayor Michael Regan. Picture: Simon Bennett

Mayor Michael Regan. Picture: Simon Bennett

Cr Amon also accused council of wasting money and cited a $12m spend on 'smart bins' in 2019 as an example. Cr Regan said that all councillors, including Cr Amon, voted in favour of the bin replacement program.

"That's because of all the long term options, replacing the bins was the most cost effective, saving ratepayers $1.2million. Facts are facts," Cr Regan said.

Cr Amon said ratepayers are also footing the bill for code of conduct complaints in council.

Councillor Amon selectively chooses the figures he wants to suit his own political arguments.

Mayor Michael Regan

Information provided by Cr Amon to the Northern Beaches Review, shows there has been 42 code of conduct complaints received since the last local election. Of these, 21 were submitted by councillors against other councillors; 17 were submitted by the general public; and four were submitted by other complainants such as the ICAC.

"This council, in my view, has become so dysfunctional," Cr Amon said.

Mayor Michael Regan will stand for re-election at Tuesday's meeting, and said stability of the council's leadership was important for the community.

It'll be a big task to roll the mayor in the last couple of months, but I'll certainly be supporting Rory.

Councillor Pat Daley

"I'm keen to lead the community through the pandemic and the recovery which is hopefully coming really soon," he said. "Post this lockdown, I'm looking forward to strengthening that recovery."

Cr Penny Philpott will support the re-election of Cr Regan at the vote.

"If someone with political ambition was appointed as mayor it would not be favourable for the community," she said. "Michael Regan has done an excellent job as mayor."

Cr Pat Daley and Cr Stuart Sprott will vote in support of Cr Amon being elected as mayor.

Cr Daley said "It'll be a big task to roll the mayor in the last couple of months, but I'll certainly be supporting Rory".

Cr Sprott ran for deputy mayor against Cr Candy Bingham at last month's council meeting and was defeated eight votes to seven.

RE-ELECTED: Deputy mayor Candy Bingham was re-elected to the role in August. Picture: Geoff Jones

RE-ELECTED: Deputy mayor Candy Bingham was re-elected to the role in August. Picture: Geoff Jones

"He's been mayor for 15 years. Ten or 11 years as Warringah and four years as the northern beaches," he said. "You've got to have fresh eyes on the job, and it's always good to change things around."

Cr Candy Bingham was re-elected to the role of deputy mayor at council's August meeting, this is her third time in the role.

She will hold the position until the end of the council term or up to a period of no more than one year to allow for any further postponements to local government elections.

Nominations to run as mayor will be open ahead of the vote at Tuesday's council meeting.

Cr Natalie Warren, Cr Rosalyn Harrison and Cr Ian White were also contacted for this story.

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