Armidale Regional Council to elect its first mayor

After speaking with newly-elected councillors, The Armidale Express understands that today’s mayoral election will be a choice between two candidates.

The council’s former administrator, Ian Tiley, was quick to announce his intention to stand for mayor after the conclusion of the September 9 election.

His only opposition appears to be Simon Murray, former deputy mayor of Guyra Shire.

And while Cr Murray has yet to publicly declare that he is in the running for the mayor’s job, enough of the new councillors are talking about him to indicate he is seriously considering it.

Some of the councillors have openly said they have met with the mayoral candidates.

The only other councillor on the new council with experience is Margaret O’Connor, and all she would admit to the Express is that she knew who she was voting for.

Of course, that could be herself if she throws her hat into the ring today.

Of the two names that have been mentioned to the Express, we believe it would make a tough choice for the new councillors.

Both Cr Murray and Cr Tiley have the experience to lead the new council, and both have their critics.

Cr Tiley, who for more than a year had been the administrator of Armidale Regional Council, was the most popular candidate in the election earlier this month.

The former mayor of Maclean and the Clarence Valley on the north coast, was appointed administrator of the council, following the amalgamation of Guyra Shire Council with Armidale Dumaresq Council last year. But the questions have been asked, how will Cr Tiley go as a team player?

No longer is he a one-man band, making decisions on his own.

Cr Murray had been a fierce critic of the amalgamation of Armidale and Guyra shires. But he has put that behind him to first run for council, and now possibly stand for mayor.

He has said his focus as a councillor will be on promoting the whole region as a premier agricultural area.

But new councillor Jon Galletly colourfully threw his support behind Cr Tiley yesterday, saying he had trouble getting a straight answer out of Cr Murray.

While the new mayor will be elected today, we believe that is good for our region, to have several potential leaders on our new council.