Mayor will stay if a Liberal candidate

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FRANKSTON’S mayor Darrel Taylor will not surrender the mayoralty if he wins Liberal Party preselection for the state seat of Frankston.

A move to force Cr Taylor to step down was narrowly defeated at the most recent council meeting, with councillors voting 4-3 against a motion put up by Colin Hampton and Glenn Aitken, and supported by James Dooley.

Supporting the mayor’s stance were Michael O’Reilly, Rebekah Spelman, Suzette Tayler and the mayor himself, who voted on his own fate.

Cr Sandra Mayer did not vote and Cr Brian Cunial was on leave.

Last month, Cr Hampton called on the mayor to step down when Cr Taylor announced he was a preselection candidate (‘Mayor wants to be MP’, The Times, 17/2/14), saying the mayor’s decision would take the council back to the days of the politicised council of the mid-2000s when councillors divided along Liberal and Labor party lines.

Cr Hampton said he was surprised the mayor had stayed in the council chamber for debate and voted on the matter.

“I’ve made a formal complaint to the Local Government Inspectorate about him voting on a matter that directly affected him,” he said.

Cr Hampton said the mayor must stand aside if he wins preselection “to clearly separate his personal political ambition from essentially the impartial role of the mayoralty”.

“Council specifically expects the mayoral role to be free of any party involvement or personal agenda,” he said.

The mayor using his position as a springboard into Parliament was an “inappropriate use of community goodwill”, Cr Hampton said.

“Joining the mayoralty with a personal parliamentary ambition risks undoing the stability of our council and the good work and positive image we have strived so hard to reclaim over the past few years.

“The council will be divided as the role of mayor will be compromised between his role as the leader of our community and his party political ambitions.”

Cr Taylor said when he was “lining up to be mayor, I had no vision of [entering] state parliament”.

He had been encouraged by many members of the community and local Liberal Party members to seek preselection and take on independent Geoff Shaw.

Cr Taylor has not decided when he would step down as mayor if he won preselection but it would be a “reasonable time before the writs for the election are issued”.

Writs are issued 25 days before the 29 November election.

He said he was seeking preselection “because I am optimistic and passionate about Frankston”. There was a thirst for change in the community, he said.

- Candidates seeking Liberal Party preselection for Frankston electorate are Cr Taylor; Sean Armistead, who stood at last year’s federal poll, winning 23 per cent of first preferences in the seat of Melbourne won by the Greens Adam Bandt; and Senior Sergeant Michael Lamb of Frankston police criminal investigation unit. A decision is expected before the end of April.

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