DEALS were brokered as a fragmented council sought stability to re-elect Rod Kendall mayor in an unopposed election, according to a councillor who reneged his candidacy after an explosive week in the chambers.
After weeks of speculation as many as six councillors were jockeying for the numbers needed to roll the mayor of three years, both Cr Kendall and deputy mayor Dallas Tout were re-appointed to their respective positions on Monday night.
It follows last Thursday’s sudden departure of council’s general manager, Phil Pinyon, following the release of a report into council’s $2.5 million failed loan to Douglas Aerospace.
Since, the two councillors who championed change and declared their hand to contest the mayor – former deputy mayor Andrew Negline and former mayor Kerry Pascoe – backed down and a ceasefire was called.
But behind closed doors, “deals have been done”, according to Cr Negline.
“Given the current circumstances, the best thing is stability and strong leadership,” he said.
Cr Kendall ruled out reports he brokered a deal with Cr Garry Hiscock, offering him leverage over the Equex Centre in exchange for his vote.
“There was certainly no discussion of Equex,” Cr Kendall said. “But we cert sat down, swapped some notes and discussed some of the issues that were worrying Garry.”
Cr Kendall said strategy did not come into play, but admitted he had taken on board councillors’ feedback on his leadership style to provide them with enough confidence to re-appoint him.
While he stopped short of citing some of that feedback, Cr Kendall vowed to move forward as a cohesive body.
“(It is about) understanding that everybody needs to have the opportunity to discuss potential decisions of council, not just in a formal meeting, but informal meetings (also),” Cr Kendall said. “It is making sure councillors are as widely involved as they can be and making sure the management and council relationship is a far stronger relationship than some people have felt at times.”
Meanwhile, Cr Tout said he would continue to act as an additional conduit for both councillors and the public.
“Local government is my passion so to be a councillor is really satisfying, but to be elected deputy mayor, especially without (being) unopposed, is humbling,” Cr Tout said. “The actions in the last couple of weeks, I think we just needed stability.”
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