A WHIFF of positive change for Singleton Council was in the air on Wednesday afternoon as candidates for the September 8 local government election were made public
Along with eight current councillors, seven new faces will appear on ballot papers.
As some candidates are running for both the mayoral and councillor jobs that means there are seven contesting the mayoral seat and 12 vying for nine councillor positions.
Election returning officer David Workman revealed candidate names and then randomly picked their ballot paper places.
In a pleasing contrast to many council meetings during the past two years, the formal procedure at times became a light-hearted affair, with some candidates joking among themselves.
Afterward, several said they hoped the good humour was continued into the council chambers.
The mayoral candidates, in order they will appear on the ballot paper, are John Martin, Kylie Stibbard, Lee Gallagher, Sue Moore, Terry O’Brien, Fred Harvison and Tony McNamara.
Candidates running for the nine councillor positions, in order they will appear on the ballot paper, are Gary Lowe, Godfrey Adamthwaite, Val Scott, Bob Keown, Christina Metlikovec, Hollee Diemar-Jenkins, Ruth Rogers, Lee Gallagher, Tony McNamara, John Martin, Tessa Capsanis and Sue Moore.
About 15,000 Singleton residents will be eligible to vote on September 8 and, as a result of a referendum in November 2010, will for the first time chose the shire’s mayor.
The referendum also reduced the total number of elected representatives to 10 and abolished the ward system, which means each councillor will represent residents from throughout the shire, rather than a particular part of it.
The mayor and councillors will hold their seats for four years.
Mr Workman stressed that the mayoral and councillor elections were separate.
The successful mayoral candidate can only win one seat and votes cast for unsuccessful mayoral candidates will not flow through to them as councillors.
Only votes cast using the councillor ballot paper will be counted for the nine councillor positions.
Votes for mayoral and councillor positions will be counted under different systems.
The successful mayoral candidate will have to gain more than 50 per cent of the votes.
A valid vote for mayor can simply be marked with the number 1, or any number of preferences, up to seven.
If the paper is only marked with a 1, and that candidate is not elected, this vote will become exhausted in the first preference distribution.
A valid vote in the councillors’ ballot will have to be marked with at least five preferences.
It will also be valid if it is marked with any number of preferences over five, up to 12.
While candidates will be able to suggest preferences to voters, only preferences marked by Singleton residents on ballot papers will be distributed.
The simplest was to ensure valid votes, and have a say on who you would prefer to see on the council, is to number each square on both ballot papers.
A more detailed explanation of the voting system and other election inquiries may be sought on the New South Wales Electoral Commission internet website www.votes.info or by telephoning 1300 135 736.