Council in crisis

THE Derwent Valley Council is close to breaking point with four of its eight elected representatives having quit or been pushed out in just two months.

Today, Derwent Valley locals will learn who will be the new mayor with the job of leading the council out of its crisis.

The latest departure came last Thursday when Frank Pearce advised General Manager Dean Griggs he had moved interstate and was no longer eligible to sit on council.

Today, the Tasmanian Electoral Commission will start counting votes for the mayoral race and the winner of the postal ballot should be known by about noon.

Ben Shaw who quit in December citing a concerted campaign to “bring me down by social media warriors, certain media and a minority of despicable community members who are allowed to go unfettered and without consequence spreading vile misinformation, rumors and lies.’’

Just days before, controversial councillor Paul Belcher announced he was quitting after the Office of Local Government ruled he needed ethics training.

Former mayor and councillor Martyn Evans was dismissed the same week as he had failed to attend three council meetings in a row.

January’s Annual General Meeting also had to be rescheduled at the last minute as it was not properly advertised. Deputy Mayor Jessica Cosgrove has been acting mayor since Mr Shaw quit.

Six candidates are in the running to be mayor, Phillip Bingley of Lachlan, Peter Binny of Granton, Ms Cosgrove of New Norfolk, Michelle Dracoulis of New Norfolk, Tony Nicholson of Lachlan and Julie Triffett of New Norfolk.

The Tasmanian Electoral Commission will delay writing to candidates to fill Mr Pearce’s role until Friday, February 25, to avoid confusion with the by-election for mayor.

Those who stood at the last election for council will be asked to nominate if they wish to fill the casual vacancy.

Whoever wins the position of mayor and councillor will hold the position until October, when a general local government ballot will be held.