MAYOR Kathy Sajowitz is one of a number of Oberon councillors who are not yet sure if they will nominate for this September's local government election.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
The election will decide Oberon's councillors for the next four years.
"I will consider this [nominating] closer to the time. Nominations open in July," Cr Sajowitz said.
"My focus at the moment is working alongside my fellow councillors to deliver good, positive outcomes for the Oberon community.
"The first half of the year will see several exciting projects completed and council needs to allocate the Federal Government $1 million Drought Funding Grant it received late last year into a project/projects that will benefit the whole community.
"We also need to work toward dealing with the many challenges involved in adapting to a rapidly changing local government environment. I encourage residents who have an interest in the future direction of Oberon to consider nominating in September for a role on council.
"Folk put themselves forward because they want to not only make a difference but contribute to their community and try to make it a better place for all to live; this especially applies in small rural areas.
"Being a councillor is not always easy, but it is rewarding. The ability to work as part of a team, to move on and accept democracy in action when decisions do not go your way, a love of community and, of course, time to devote to all aspects of the role are prerequisites.
"I often recall the advice I received from former mayor John McMahon: 'Remember, you will never please everyone no matter how hard you try.'"
IN OTHER NEWS: Residential land value jumps dramatically in Oberon
All levels of government are highly regulated, Cr Sajowitz said, "so be prepared for a level of scrutiny into what you may consider your personal business, both from the Office of Local Government and your fellow community members".
"There have been changes to the Act since the last election in 2017. Council's general manager, Gary Wallace, will soon be attending a workshop, after which council will be hosting information sessions for prospective candidates," she said.
"If anyone has questions and wants to discuss the role and responsibilities of being a councillor, I am happy to assist and supply any information required.
"As part of a statewide campaign by LGNSW, I personally would like to encourage more women to consider standing. It requires a mix of councillors with diverse views to represent the community fairly and deliver balanced democratic outcomes.
"Based on the last round of local government elections, the number of women candidates in NSW declined. Despite this, the number of women successfully elected actually increased. Despite many women having the skillset to carry out the role, NSW has the lowest percentage of female representation at local government level at 31 per cent.
"In collaboration with a neighbouring council, I am planning to run a free information workshop aimed at informing and encouraging women to think about nominating in September. To allay concerns in some quarters, I reiterate that it will then be up to the person concerned to make the decision to nominate or not and then up to the people to exercise their voting preference at election time."
The Oberon Review contacted current councillors to gauge whether they will be in the running for re-election in September.
* Cr Ian Doney said it will depend on the number and quality of candidates. "Representation from the O'Connell end of the council area to maintain a diverse focus on the area is important. Oberon has, in my time, always been served by a committed and hard-working council. I look forward to that continuing where a group of councillors act in the best interests of the LGA."
* Cr Brenda Lyon said she has yet to make a decision. "Will let you know when I have."
* Cr Andrew McKibbin said it is a long way out from the election. "For those of us who run rural businesses, it has been a difficult time with drought and bushfires. So at this time I would say the decision will be made closer to September 2020. I have enjoyed being on council and the councillors and mayor have worked well together. There are still areas that need attention moving forward which I can provide a positive contribution to achieving or finalising, such as the sewage treatment plant and review of road construction and maintenance, to name but a couple."
* Cr Mick McKechnie said he believes contesting the next council election should be a priority for all the currently elected councillors, albeit it is eight months away. "I think the whole council can be satisfied with their tenure so far. A great deal has been achieved, such as subsidised water to assist in the current drought, a new skate park, indoor fitness centre, Rec Ground upgrade, new playground facilities, new lawn bowling green and bringing the Spartan events to Oberon. There is a list of unfinished business which includes a new sewage treatment plant, new rugby league ground complex, Campbells River and Mozart roads upgrade and unrateable land issues."
* Cr Mark Kellam said he thinks there are lots of things to write about that are more interesting than which councillors may be contesting the election. "You could write about the push to encourage more people to nominate, describe the skills needed and activities undertaken by councillors. I think asking councillors to publicly commit this far out is not reasonable. I will confirm my intent before nominations are due."
* Cr Kerry Gibbons said he is undecided at this time.
* Cr Don Capel said he has not given any consideration. "The date is still quite a way off. I will give you a response when I do make a definite decision."
* Cr Clive McCarthy said he will be running again.
Those interested in contesting the 2020 election can contact the Oberon Review to declare their interest.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.