Council to Write to Minister to Dispense with a By-election

Port Macquarie-Hastings

Following the resignation of Councillor Sharon Griffiths, Port Macquarie Hastings Council held an Extraordinary Meeting today and resolved to apply to the Minister for Local Government to dispense with a by-election and proceed with eight councillors until the 2024 election.

This decision comes as Council formally noted the resignation of Cr Griffiths on July 21 and expressed its appreciation for her 11 years of service.

Mayor Peta Pinson stated that Council was gathered to acknowledge Cr Griffiths’ service and to determine the best path forward as a Council and for the community.

“We would like to thank Councillor Griffiths for her service. It is a difficult role as a community civic leader to represent all facets of the community and to do so for eleven years is extraordinary,” Mayor Pinson said.

“I would also like to acknowledge the steps Council has taken together today to work to avoid a by-election, which could carry a significant cost to the community. Considering a by-election could take up to three months to organise, it would only fill the vacant seat for a short period before the Local Government elections in September 2024.”

Given Cr Griffiths resignation is outside of the 18-month period from the previous election for a countback election, previous candidates who stood for the 2021 Local Government election cannot be considered for the vacancy.

Council has requested that the CEO Dr Clare Allen apply to the Minister of Local Government to leave the position vacant under Section 294 (2) of the NSW Local Government Act 1993. Should this application be successful, the Chairperson will hold the casting vote for tried decisions.

The Council also resolved to appoint Cr Adam Roberts to fill Cr Griffiths’ seat as the non-voting Councillor member to the Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee.

/Public Release. View in full here.