Tamworth Regional Council mayor, deputy say it's business as usual

BACK TO BUSINESS: Phil Betts (left) decided he'd run for deputy mayor at a few hours before the council meeting. Photo: Gareth Gardner 120918GGB01
BACK TO BUSINESS: Phil Betts (left) decided he'd run for deputy mayor at a few hours before the council meeting. Photo: Gareth Gardner 120918GGB01

TAMWORTH’S new deputy mayor says he wasn’t pushed into the role despite only deciding he’d run for the position two hours before Tuesday’s meeting.

Phil Betts bested challenges from Mark Rodda and Jim Maxwell who both announced publicly they would run for deputy mayor before Tuesday.

The newly-elected deputy mayor said it was “good democracy” to have a lot of choice, although a week ago he ruled himself out of the race.

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“I just decided that being a democracy we’do it, because we’re a team and we just want to demonstrate that we are an open team,” he said.

Greater inclusiveness was Cr Betts’ chief priority as 2IC.

“It’s important we bring the entire community together, not just the outlying communities,” he said.

“We need to work together as one Tamworth regional community, not isolated communities.”

Re-elected mayor Col Murray said it would be business as usual with Cr Betts by his side.

But Cr Murray was diplomatic about the promotion of his fellow councillor.

“It’s always the right person who gets the job in democracy, but [I’m] very happy to have Phil by my side” he said.

“We’ve worked together now for 14 years and it will be great to have the opportunity to work with him in these senior leadership roles.”

Cr Murray confirmed the next two years would be his last on council, but there a still a number of projects he wanted to see through.

He listed the pilot academy, the intermodal terminal and securing a genuine university campus for the city as his main priorities.

Despite having no challengers for the top job again, Cr Murray didn’t believe the role was too much of a burden for anyone else to take on and waxed poetic about the post.

“I’ve always believed in that old saying ‘there’s never been a horse that could never rode and there’s never been a cowboy who couldn’t be throwed’,” he said.

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