Wellsford man keen to take council reins
Heated reaction has followed a Rodney Local Board decision to advertise a vacant board position rather than appoint the next highest polling candidate.
Some from Wellsford have called the move undemocratic. But board chairman Bob Howard says they just want to find the best person for the job.
James Rolfe resigned from the board in January and because that happened within a year of the next local body election there was no need for a by-election.
Instead, the decision lay with the board at its meeting on February 11. It had a choice - continue with one member short until the next election in October or appoint a new member.
In the meeting agenda it stated "there is no requirement or convention that indicates the board must appoint the highest polling, or any candidate from a previous election".
But some in Wellsford disagree, saying James Colville should be appointed to represent the Wellsford area because he was runner-up at the 2010 elections.
In a letter to the Rodney Times headed "Wellsford Ward Crippled by Dictation Tactics", Landowners and Contractors Protection Association chairman Brian Mason has says the board is acting undemocratically.
"Our Rodney Local Board seems to think they know Wellsford and its surrounding areas far better than ourselves," he says.
"Monday, February 11 was a sorry day for Wellsford's community when the board denied them the democracy we all believed was ours."
Wellsford Citizens and Ratepayers Association and Wellsford Promotions Association chairwoman Nancy Malloy also says the board should go with Mr Colville.
Mrs Malloy welcomes the board's decision to seek a new member rather than continue one short. But she says that member should be Mr Colville.
And she says the views of groups such as Wellsford Citizens and Ratepayers and Wellsford Promotions are being ignored.
Mr Colville was nominated for the position at a meeting of that association on February 4.
The association says Mr Colville is a long-time Wellsford resident, is active in the community, has "already has demonstrated a commitment to represent the ward by standing in the last election", and has passed all the criteria to hold office by previous election screening.
Mr Colville says he will apply for the position.
"I am ready, willing and able to serve the community. I believe I have the local knowledge to put my community's best interests first.
"The Wellsford community at the last election voted me as runner-up. To that extent I believe democracy must be served."
Rodney Local Board chairman Bob Howard has defended the decision to advertise. He says: "A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then and we need to make sure we have the best person for the job.
"Expressions of interest will be called for very shortly and we hope that Mr Colville will make an application then all applicants will be considered before the full board makes a decision."
Mr Howard says at that time the board will still have the option of not appointing anybody but the community had made it clear they want representation.
The position was advertised in Thursday's Rodney Times, with preferred skills and experience listed as experience of community leadership in Rodney, having operated in a governance role, experience or knowledge of local government, and an ability to evaluate and interpret information".
Applications close February 25.