Penfold reacts to merger opinion

UNHAPPY: Cr Philip Penfold has taken exception to recent comments from the mayor, Cr Peter Blackmore, about who he would like to see represent Maitland during the before a merger takes place.A Maitland councillor has fired up over recent comments from the mayor, Cr Peter Blackmore, about who he believes should represent the city between a merger announcement and council elections.

With merger announcements expected mid year, and council elections not scheduled until at least September, there is likely to be an interim period where administrators run merging councils.

The state government has asked councillors across NSW to submit expressions of interest if they want to be considered for administrator roles during the period.

Cr Philip Penfold, Maitland City Council Mercury last week, if a Maitland and Dungog merger was announced, he believed the administrators should be the mayors and general managers of each council.

But Cr Penfold dismissed the idea as inappropriate.

“I don’t think it’s necessary or appropriate to have one councillor from Maitland act as an administrator for a newly merged council,” he said.

“We would have one person from Maitland in charge of making decisions to spend $150 million a year.That doesn’t happen on boards of companies. It doesn’t happen in government – even Parliament has a Cabinet.

“It takes a group of people to make a decision in the best interest of Maitland and no one person, whether that’s the mayor or anyone else, is best suited to do that.

“The people who were democratically elected to represent should be under consideration.”

Cr Penfold said he had submitted an expression of interest for an administrator position.

He said the interim committee should be comprised of between five and 13 members.

“I appreciate it would not be appropriate for the nine Dungog and 13 Maitland [councillors] to make up that committee, but one’s not appropriate,” he said.“We need a diverse range of views.”

Public submissions regarding the proposedmerger remain open through the NSW Council Boundary Review website until April 15.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.