✦ For the last six months I’ve been privileged to serve as Deputy Mayor for the Port Macquarie- Hastings, with my term due to end in February 2024.
This month, the Mayor of Port Macquarie Hastings Council has proposed to remove and not replace the Deputy Mayor role for the remainder of this term. (Item 10.01: https://portmacquarie.infocouncil.biz/Open/2023/08/OC_17082023_AGN_WEB.htm
My initial response to the Mayor’s proposal.
Firstly, it is important for our community to have a Deputy Mayor.
The role of the Deputy Mayor is to perform the responsibilities of the Mayor in the event that the Mayor is absent or incapacitated. This is an important redundancy to ensure continuity of civic leadership. Almost all Councils maintain this position.
Having a Deputy Mayor for an LGA offers other potential benefits including.
sharing the workload of Council
preparation for succession planning
upskilling the broader elected governing body in serving our community
supporting the flow of information to councillors who are not in regular communication with the Mayor.
Secondly, I have performed the Deputy Role well.
After my election to Deputy Mayor in February I was soon given the opportunity to be Acting Mayor by chairing the March Public Forum, when the Mayor became unavailable at short notice. (https://www.portnews.com.au/story/8120460/no-explanation-councillors-called-out-for-last-minute-no-show-at-public-forum/).
Acting Mayor for a month
While the Mayor was absent without leave shortly following the State election. During that time, I was called on to chair different Council meetings, perform the Mayor’s regular media duties, and I was especially privileged to represent Council as Acting Mayor on Anzac Day at the Centenary Memorial in Kendall
Since that time, I played an important role in the CEO review process as Deputy Mayor, and have otherwise only been called upon as Deputy on few occasions. Meanwhile, I have continued to perform my role as councillor with diligence and with stubborn and steadfast commitment to transparency and integrity.
I understand that many people in our community value my approach to local government. Many have noted my commitment to meaningful community engagement, sustainability across the Triple Bottom Line (community, environment, economy), and future readiness of Council and our community.
On Thursday I will argue my case in Chambers, and I hope that as a result I will have the opportunity to complete my 12-month term as Deputy Mayor. Community members can attend meeting in person. Council meetings are also live streamed to YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlkuwc5RsgcqX1td3dhvj4okiVjh9E6RO.”
*The views in this release are Rachel Sheppard's alone, and not those of PMHC, any other Councillor or person*
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