Mayor’s ‘conflict of interest’ issues need more work

COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA

 

The decision by the majority of town councillors last Tuesday – to seek a second legal opinion on the potential conflict of interest in Damien Ryan being a political candidate while he is still the Mayor – needs more work.

 

The councillors already have an opinion – the Mayor can do it.

 

However, the legal position is far less important than what the public thinks about the matter, aka the Pub Test: Should Mr Ryan make a clean break between his local government job and his Territory government ambitions?

 

The council and the government need to jointly deal with major issues right now, the gallery and youth crime just two of them, but the Chief Minister doesn’t trust the Mayor.

 

This issue is a demanding task for our civic representatives who will need to make the decision: More than usual they need to consult widely, speak with their electors, get around town, put their ear to the ground, do ring-arounds, compare notes with each-other and then resolve the matter based on their own research rather than on an opinion obtained from the outside, at ratepayers’ expense.

 

Have they fallen prey to the habit in the NT these days of getting outside consultants to make the decisions?

 

What’s more, as can be surmised from Tuesday’s motion, if the second legal opinion confirms the first one then that is the end of the matter. The views of the public, the voters, the people, would not have gotten a look-in.

 

The Mayor would gleefully trumpet his right to what he’s doing, and indulge in the activities of his $100,000 local government job that – coincidentally of course – provide lots of opportunities to make a good fellow of himself, handing out things and appearing at all sorts of public functions, as the Territory election in August draws closer.

 

Meanwhile the town’s stagnation would continue – the picture isn’t pretty – and democracy would have taken a blow.

 

 

 

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Erwin Chlanda, Editor


2 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Jack
    Posted February 1, 2020 at 9:04 am

    I’d be more open to the idea of our mayor being a CLP member if he wasn’t so indignant about the naysayers.
    To question his right is disrespectful?
    Whether allowed by the rules or not he would be mayor / CLP member + have a $100K job with the NT Government and not have any conflicts of interest?
    Even if he could, would his triple employment in any way influence residents in their dealings with his position as mayor?
    Speaking for myself the answer is yes!
    Our mayor should make a choice.

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  2. Domenico Pecorari
    Posted January 31, 2020 at 10:17 am

    Attending last Tuesday night’s ASTC meeting I was most struck by the arrogance displayed by Mayor Ryan in vehemently denying Cr Cocking’s assertion that he was using his same Facebook account to disseminate posts reflecting both of his positions: as our town’s Mayor and as the selected CLP candidate for the seat of Araluen.
    My temporary doubt in Jimmy Cocking’s usually meticulous fact-checking abilities were put to rest by the photographic evidence in the last story on the matter (Alice Springs News, January 29) showing that our mayor’s FB account, “Damien Ryan”, is indeed posting “good news” stories relating to his role as mayor, as well as “political” posts as the candidate for the CLP.
    Was it a genuine mistake by members of Ryan’s political support group or was it an indignant denial of the facts (that is to say, a lie) in the public arena of a council meeting?
    Either way, our mayor proved, for me, that he is perfectly qualified to be a candidate for a conservative political party.

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