Major upset at first Kyogle Council meeting

ABOVE: Kyogle mayor Kylie Thomas made a speech to residents on Facebook.

Susanna Freymark

This first Kyogle Council meeting of 2022 was tense.

First, there was the unexpected outcome in voting when Kylie Thomas was elected as mayor and Tom Cooper as deputy.

Councillors James Murray, Rob Cullen, Kylie Thomas, Tom Cooper and Maggie May voted for Ms Thomas.

John Burley, Janet Wilson, Hayden Doolan and Danielle Mulholland voted for Ms Mulholland.

Things became heated in the discussion about how council would fill casual councillor vacancies (resulting from a resignation, illness, death etc) and whether council would call a byelection or do a recount of the results of this election.

The NSW Electoral Commission charged Kyogle Council $78,000 to run the election and if a councillor had to vacate their position for any reason and there was a byelection, the cost would come to many thousands of dollars.

In Ward C the candidates were Ms Mulholland – who received more than 47% of the vote – Mr Cooper, Mr Murray and Simon Dejoux – who is Ms Mulholland’s life partner.

Mr Cooper addressed the meeting, “I believe there is a conflict of interest. If Cr Murray was run over by a bulldozer and we had a vacancy would it be filled by Cr Mulholland’s partner?

He said Ms Mulholland should leave the room when the motion was voted on.

Ms Mulholland responded: “Up until midnight on Monday night (before nominations closed) there were no other candidates running in C Ward. It wasn’t until 10 minutes to midday (before the closing) that Cr Murray put his nomination form in.

“So there’s no power base here and nothing like that going on here,” Ms Mulholland said.

“I put Simon in —”

Ms Mulholland was interrupted by Ms Wilson who was clearly upset by what was happening in the meeting.

“This matter can be discussed outside of the council. I will not have it in the chamber,” she said.

Mr Cooper said if Mr Dejoux was put in the C Ward seat if there was a vacancy using the countback system, “there would be a $11,000 benefit to that household in salary”.

At that point in the meeting Ms Mulholland left.

A five-minute recess was announced by Ms Thomas.

After the recess, the motion to fill any councillor vacancies with a countback was lost.

A staff member said this means if there is a vacancy, the council would have to hold a byelection.

Ms Thomas gave her first address as mayor on Facebook. She acknowledged Ms Mulholland’s work as mayor.

Going forward, Ms Thomas said she wanted to focus on maintaining rural roads.

“We’ll talk more to the public about things that are important to them,” she said.

“Specifically, the improvements that are going to be made in the CBD.”

Welcome to Richmond Valley and Kyogle news

Scroll to Top
Like an alert when we add a story? Yes please No thanks