New deputy makes unity plea

NEW Melville deputy mayor Tim Barling has called on his colleagues to stop in-fighting and put ratepayers first.

Cr Barling was elected by a secret ballot at this month’s council meeting, taking over from councillor Matthew Woodall.

In recent years the council has been rocked by deep divisions, with mayor Russell Aubrey seeking a restraining order against councillor Nick Pazolli and the city hiring a former police detective to investigate three councillors.

On the night of the deputy mayor vote, Cr Barling told the chamber; “I genuinely believe that the council can be nicer to itself, that we all can and should work on reducing the ad hominem attacks against each other.

“That a continuous fallacious argumentative strategy prevents us from doing our real job of genuine discussion of the topics at hand.

“That we too much avoid the real and important points of an issue by instead attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of those with merely a slightly different view, those asking what some may consider a silly question or those that want more time and a more considered approach to an item.

“My hope as deputy mayor is that I will be more unifying than divisive; more understanding than combative, and more constructive than objectionist.”

Councillors Guy Wieland and Katy Mair also nominated for deputy mayor, but minutes before the ballot Cr Mair withdrew.

The Herald contacted Cr Mair to ask why she pulled out the race, but she didn’t get back to us.

Cr Barling will serve as deputy mayor until October next year.

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