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Geraldton council votes against extraordinary costs of snap election

Michael RobertsGeraldton Guardian
Peter Fiorenza resigned from the City of Greater Geraldton Council citing health concerns.
Camera IconPeter Fiorenza resigned from the City of Greater Geraldton Council citing health concerns. Credit: Supplied/Geraldton Guardian

The City of Greater Geraldton council will be one short for the next 20 months after councillors chose to pass on an extraordinary election that would have seen a new representative replace former councillor Peter Fiorenza.

Mr Fiorenza officially resigned last week, halfway through his four-year term, citing health concerns.

At Tuesday night’s ordinary council meeting, councillors were presented with a motion to approve an extraordinary election run by the WA Electoral Commission at an estimated cost of $73,000.

But Cr Natasha Colliver put forward an alternative motion to keep the seat vacant until the next set of local government elections are held in October 2023.

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CEO Ross McKim told councillors the WAEC had given the City permission to leave the seat vacant.

He said skipping an extraordinary election would save resources and money.

Peter Fiorenza, right, was sworn into the council in 2019 for a second term.
Camera IconPeter Fiorenza, right, was sworn into the council in 2019 for a second term. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

“Now we’ve moved to a ward system to run a by-election is nearly the same price as running a full election,” he said.

“We can’t just send postal packs to one ward. We have to send out the 27,000 postal packs.”

Mr McKim said proposed local government reforms could reduce the number of seats on council by 2023 anyway.

“If the local government reforms are carried as per the current statements, councils would have a maximum of eight councillors so you would be dropping down to eight I assume at the next election,” he said.

Cr Colliver said she wished the council could simply appoint a candidate from this year’s local government election.

“In an ideal world we would do what the Legislative Council can do and just appoint the next person on the list,” she said.

“That would have been a really good outcome but we can’t do that.

“In terms of costs and the local government reforms, which we know will all go through, this is the best outcome.”

The alternative motion was passed unanimously.

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