ABOVE: Kyogle deputy mayor Tom Cooper. Photo: Susanna Freymark
It was when Tom Cooper was driving back from Warwick in his cattle truck along the Clarence Way, that he decided he would run for council.
It was two days before the Kyogle Council elections.
Locals had previously asked him to consider running.
“I’d made up my mind not to run,” he said.
The bumpy Clarence Way was so bad Tom turned to his wife Vickie and said:
“I’ve got to do something about this.”
The 61 year old Bonalbo dairy farmer has been on council before.
When he was 49 and Ernie Bennett was mayor, Tom was a councillor for one term.
He knows how organisations work. He was director of Norco for 12 years and served two terms on the Local Land Services board.
The one thing he learnt about how he operates is that he “won’t compromise on transparency”.
“I like to know how things work and to try and improve that,” he said.
I hate waste — especially wasted time.
“Because I’m older I realise I don’t have time to waste.”
On the rubbish front, Tom would like to see a mobile waste recycling truck visit the villages to make recycling easier for people.
He also wants to see big changes to the culture of Kyogle Council.
“I want to see the council change to be a more resident and ratepayer friendly and inclusive,” he said.
“I’d like to see an increased emphasis on the HR department where we have the right people in the right places.
“As a councillor, our workplace goals should be 110% because we want to keep our people safe and engaged.”
As a Ward C councillor and deputy Tom wants to find practical solutions. His strength he said was his ‘dogged determination’ to get things done.
What does he think about electing a mayor on popular vote?
“If the mayor was elected by popular vote, the mayor would always be from Kyogle,” Tom said.
He prefers to keep the system as it is with councillors voting for the mayor.
Kyogle Council’s first meeting for the year was intense one with controversy over the surprise election of mayor Kylie Thomas and Tom as deputy.
“The democratic process has been followed. Time will dictate whether the right decision has been made.
Tom is on 0437 562 887.