Stirling getting popular?

STIRLING will hold a councillor workshop early next year to consider whether to swap to a popularly elected mayor.

The mayor is currently chosen through a vote of councillors.

Councillor David Boothman spearheaded the current motion, despite voting against popular elections when they were floated by Councillor Elizabeth Re during his mayoralty.

Cr Boothman said he voted “with the status quo” in 2011 because he couldn’t see a clear benefit of making the change, but now thinks mayoral responsibilities have increased because of the council’s long-term strategic work.

He says it’s important for a mayor to represent the whole city and not focus on one ward.

“The mayor has to take a more holistic view of the entire city,” Cr Boothman said. “Perhaps going forward, a mayor that’s elected will be answerable to the wider population … just as they’re elected by the community perhaps they can be unelected too.”

In November residents made their position clear, with two petitions of 280 and 115 signatures being table at the council meeting in support of the change.

Some of the reasons listed in the petition were:

• Most metropolitan councils have a popularly elected mayor;

• Mayors are now paid; and,

• It would make the mayor more independent and better able to serve the people who voted them in.

A final decision will be made by council before March, but a special majority of at least 11 of the 14 councillors will be required for it to pass.

by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM

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