Michael Regan and Candy Bingham have been re-elected to lead Northern Beaches Council into the next term.

10.00am yesterday morning (Wednesday, 29 December) a council meeting was held to swear in the newly elected body following the recent council elections.

All Councillors affirmed to ‘undertake the duties of the office of Councillor in the best interest of the people of the Northern Beaches and the Northern Beaches Council, and to faithfully and impartially carry out the functions, powers, authorities and discretion vested under the Local Government Act’.

Councillor Bianca Crvelin, who was not present in person at the meeting and granted a leave of absence, took her oath of office on 23 December. Under new provisions for remote attendance, she was admitted to the meeting remotely following a motion of the new Council.

There were two nominations for the Mayoral role, with the contest between Cr Michael Regan and newly elected Liberal Councillor Bianca Crvelin. Cr Michael Regan won the vote by 9-6 and took over the Mayor’s role. The only candidate to nominate for the role of Deputy Mayor was Cr Candy Bingham, who was declared elected unopposed.

With the rapid escalation in COVID-19 case numbers, Northern Beaches Council CEO Ray Brownlee made the recommendation that inaugural speeches be deferred to the February 2022 meeting of Council to limit the duration of the Council meeting.

Ray Brownlee

Ray Brownlee

“With the current COVID numbers, it may be prudent to limit the potential exposure time together at the Council meeting. We are recommending to the Council that unfortunately the meeting should be shortened and that the proposed three minute Councillor speeches be deferred until February [2022]. While disappointing, it is considered the prudent course of action at this time,” said Mr Brownlee in a message to Councillors prior to the meeting.

The first point of contention for the new Council was when Cr David Walton opposed a motion for delegated authority of Council be handed to Mayor Michael Regan until the February meeting, saying that there was no need for it.

David Walton

David Walton

“We are almost through December, we have a month period to go. My experience sitting on commercial and government boards is this is not good corporate governance. I know of no reason why we couldn’t get a forum together on fairly short notice.

“We had an experience under the delegated authority where a decision was made last January [2021], with proper purpose I acknowledge, but it wasn’t put under any scrutiny, it wasn’t debated and there was a financial loss for the community of the Northern Beaches as a result,” said Cr Walton.

The motion was passed 10-5 in favour of delegated authority of Council sitting with the Mayor until the next scheduled meeting of Council on 22 February 2022.

Councillors also passed a motion to register concerns about the conduct of the council election to the Minister for Local Government and the NSW Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, particularly in relation to changes made to rules about handing out of electoral material to voters at polling places.

Image: Northern Beaches Advocate

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