Armidale Regional Council is entering a new era of accountable and financially responsible leadership, with a focus on encouraging investment in the region, Mayor Ian Tiley declared after being elected to the role yesterday.
The veteran of 57 years in local government was elected Mayor at an extraordinary meeting of Council, with Councillor Debra O’Brien elected as Deputy Mayor.
In a speech to the meeting, Cr Tiley said the returning seven councillors are committed to prudent financial management, regular and close consultation with the community and restoring public confidence in the organisation.
He said the return of the council, following its suspension by the NSW Minister for Local Government in June, is a victory for local democracy and “we thank Minister Hancock for allowing this to happen”.
“We will adhere diligently to the Minister’s Performance Improvement Order and to address the various discovered issues,” Cr Tiley said.
“We know that the problems of the past go back many years, perhaps as far back as the Armidale Dumaresq voluntary merger 21 years ago. We do need to look back so that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.
“We are one team. We are united. We will listen to you.”
He said Council would be committed to sticking to the basics, getting the fundamentals in shape and “getting things done”.
The Mayor outlined a number of measures for effective communication between all of the councillors and with the community.
“My door will be open to all. No exceptions. My colleagues and I will regularly be at coffee shops and public spaces to have informal chats with you,” he said.
That included sessions in towns and villages throughout the region in early 2021 and again when the Council consults on the 2021-22 Budget in the middle of the year.
“My six colleagues will form a list of guest speakers to address and liaise with the diverse local community groups and organisations,” Cr Tiley said.
“They will convey Council’s important messages but most importantly will listen to you. This will truly be a team effort.”
Cr Tiley said Council would be more welcoming and supportive of potential investors in the region, as well as to existing businesses.
“The impediments to progress and success for the Armidale regional community are now behind us,” he said.
He gave a commitment to working closely with Acting General Manager John Rayner – who was recently appointed as Financial Controller until the September 2021 Local Government elections – and with the new General Manager, James Roncon, when he begins in the role in January.
Cr Tiley is a former council General Manager and has served as a councillor at seven local governments, including terms as Mayor at Clarence Valley Council and the former Maclean Shire Council.