On the eve of an extraordinary meeting of Armidale Regional Council called by councilors to debate a motion of no confidence in Mayor Simon Murray, chief executive officer of Regional Australia Bank Kevin Dupé has called on them to unite behind Cr Murray.
"As our community emerges from the shocking fires of 2019, and whilst our economy continues to reel from the toughest drought in living memory, our community has every right to expect our elected representatives to demonstrate unity and loyalty for their chosen leader," Mr Dupe said
"Now is not the time for self-serving politics. We expect and deserve better.
"With elections only eight months away, voters will reward those candidates who are prepared to put aside petty ambition to serve the community selflessly in tough times."
Mr Dupé said his discussions with other business leaders over the Australia Day long weekend revealed a deep frustration and disgust with the lack of unity and harmony of the council.
It followed comments made by local businessman and pastoralist John Cassidy AO who said the move made by some disgruntled councillors flew in then face of reason and reality.
"I am totally dismayed that some councillors appear to be putting their interest and ambitions above that of the community," he said.
"The mayor has more than proven himself a competent and capable leader since being first elected to the post in 2017, and again re-elected only four months ago.
"Mayor Murray has shown the positive leadership required to deal with the many issues he, and the new council, inherited. Many business leaders in our community were horrified with some of the commercial decisions that had been made by the previous two councils."
When previous Mayor of Armidale-Dumaresq Council Herman Beyersdorf commented on the Armidale Regional Ratepayers Association's Facebook page, he said it seemed councillors were finally waking up.
"There has been a long history of council not being involved in many important decision making processes, such as airport privatization, water restrictions, and now it seems grants to improve Dumaresq Dam recreation area," he said.
"So let's hope that the elected councillors will actually run the town and area again."
It was avery close election between Cr Murray and Cr Ian Tiley and Cr Murray won six votes to five and the closeness of that vote has surfaced lately.
There was clear evidence open frustration close to hostility when Cr Margaret O'Connor recently called her own council the "do nothing council".
The only agenda item for the extraordinary meeting, a Notice of Motion: Expression of no confidence in the mayor was authored and signed by Cr O'Connor along with Cr Jon Galletly, Cr Debra O'Brien, Cr Dorothy Robinson, Cr Andrew Murat, Cr Peter Bailey and Cr Tiley.
Cr Peter Bailey, who voted for Cr Murray, and was reluctant to make any comment outside the council chamber on Friday.
"I have my reasons for this, there are a number of things that have occurred to make me realise I made a mistake," he said.
"This is not politically aligned. I respect everyone's views."
Mr Bailey also said he understood how the local businessmen might feel because he had been one of them and thought the way they did until he became a councillor and had to work effectively with 10 other people.
Cr Diane Gray said it was no time to be playing political games.
"I think they fail to see that as councillors it is our responsibility to to work as a team to deliver operational plans related budgets, not to rip them apart once they've been agreed," she said.
"And here we have a group of councillors who want to pull essential resources away from the drought to serve their own political agendas. These sorts of political games have no place in local government, if they want to be on another team then they should go, they can resign."
The Armidale Express contacted The Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall for comment but has not received a reply.
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