Mayor’s vote a test of patience

 Kennington returned for another year

DUNCAN Kennington was re-elected District Council of Mallala mayor after an election almost decided by the simple, schoolyard action of pulling a name from a hat.

Luckily it didn’t come to that – but District Council of Mallala’s vote for mayor at its meeting on Monday night (November 25) was definitely eventful and drawn out, with three councillors putting their name forward for the top leadership role.

And the absence of Lewiston ward councillor Anne Picard threw a spanner in the works, creating a tied vote on a number of motions relating to the mayoral vote, including what form the vote was to be taken in.

DCM chief executive officer, Charles Mansueto, chaired the meeting and had to suspend proceedings on three separate occasions to seek clarification and legal advice.

In the past, DCM has voted for its mayor by a show of hands but this year three different methods were put forward; first, voting by a show of hands, which had a tied vote of 5-5; second, a secret ballot, which resulted in a tied vote of 5-5 and third, a preferential secret ballot, which was lost 4-6.

Cr Kennington then put forward the original motion of councillors electing a mayor by a show of hands, which was carried with a vote of 6-4.

Nominated for the position of mayor were Lewiston ward councillors Duncan Kennington and Karen McColl, and Two Wells ward councillor, Mark Wasley.

With a show of hands, Cr Kennington secured five votes, Cr McColl four votes and Cr Wasley one vote.

At this point Cr Wasley was eliminated from the election and councillors were asked to vote between Cr Kennington and Cr McColl, which resulted in a tied vote of 5-5.

Councillors Wasley, Heley, McColl, Strudwicke and Howard all voted in favour of Cr McColl as mayor.

Councillors Kennington, Daniele, Jones, Keen and Summerton voted in support of Cr Kennington.

Reading from the Local Government Associations’ electoral guidelines, Mr Mansueto advised councillors in the event of a tied result the two names were to be put into a hat and the first name pulled out would lose the election, meaning the name left in the hat would be named mayor.

Many councillors were horrified such an important decision was left to, as it were, luck of the draw and Mr Mansueto adjourned the meeting to clarify his understanding of the guidelines.

Mr Mansueto returned to advise councillors the guidelines were not clear and legal advice should be sought.

The meeting was again adjourned while he contacted DCM’s lawyers, who advised the guidelines were correct and Mr Mansueto then suggested to councillors the “first past the post” method was the correct process to use.

Cr Strudwicke then called a point of order in relation to the previous resolution of council as an indicative vote not an election, saying he thought the lowest vote recipient should be eliminated and a re-vote taken for the two remaining candidates.

For the third time the meeting was adjourned as Mr Mansueto spoke to legal advice, which suggested the process of “first past the post” was implied in the motion of a vote by a show of hands, meaning Cr Kennington was first preference on five votes, Cr McColl second preference on four votes.

Cr Kennington moved he be appointed mayor, a motion seconded by Cr Jones and carried with a vote of 6-4.

Electing the deputy mayor position went through a similar process as that of the mayor with respect to which method to use for the voting, with Cr Strudwicke moving a motion in favour of a preferential vote, which resulted in a tied vote of 5-5.

He then moved a motion to appoint Cr McColl as deputy mayor but she declined to accept the position and the motion was lost 2-8.

Cr Keen nominated Cr Wasley for the deputy mayor position, which he accepted, and he was appointed unopposed.

This was the last year DCM councillors elected the mayor, with the vote being put in the hands of local constituents at the 2014 council elections next November.

At the conclusion of the meeting, mayor for the second year running, Duncan Kennington, said he was excited about the year ahead.

Mr Kennington said he had learnt a lot about the district and its people and he was looking forward to strengthening those relationships by attending community events, businesses forums and meetings.

Leave a Reply