Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg last night called for his own Council to be sacked and replaced with an autocratic administrator following the catastrophic floods that struck Lismore in March of this year. His calls for Council to be sacked come despite his council ticket winning a working majority at the NSW Local Government elections in December last year and are completely contrary to community expectations of elected representatives.
Greens NSW MP and Lismore Resident Sue Higginson today said “Our community has faced devastation on an unprecedented scale and we need a local leader who believes in our community, understands the systems of governance in NSW and has a clear vision of our recovery, as complex as it is,”
“I was dismayed last night when I watched the 4 Corners program on ABC and saw Mayor Krieg calling for his own council to be sacked in favour of an autocratic administrator. We have all experienced trauma from these floods and I recognise that the Mayor has suffered enormous loss but it is wildly inappropriate for an elected representative to walk away from democracy because he personally is unable to process and navigate the work that needs to be done through council. Council, as the democratic institution closest to our community, plays an essential role in our recovery, if Mayor Kreig can’t see that, which he has now publicly disclosed he can’t, we are in trouble,”
“Lismore needs local leaders who understand the depth of the problem we face, which includes the science of climate change, and who are able to take the reins and gallop us through our recovery, our rebuild and our adaptation. Mayor Krieg was elected with a working majority before the catastrophic weather event that changed everything forever. It is fair enough that he is not able to cope with what he now faces. However, the right thing to do is to step aside so that the Councillors who are able to do the work and lead can get onto it,” Ms Higginson said.
Lismore Councillors Adam Guise and Vanessa Ekins have also expressed concern following Mayor Krieg’s statements last night.
Cr. Adam Guise said “I was shocked and appalled to hear Mayor Steve Krieg say we need an autocrat to deal with the current crisis.
“Krieg and his majority were elected on a change mandate and for him to abandon his community in a time of need is appalling.
“Krieg should step down from the role of Mayor and hand leadership to someone who is willing and capable of leading our community during these challenging times.
“I will be moving a motion of no confidence at tonight's council meeting calling on the Mayor to resign,” Mr Guise said.
Cr. Vanessa Ekins and former Mayor said “It was obvious from the start that Lismore's newly elected 'independent' Mayor was unprepared for the leadership role but to call for the sacking of the whole Council on national television cannot be the 'change' his team envisioned.
“At this time of environmental crisis Lismore needs strong representation and a clear way forward, which is planned retreat from the floodplain and master planned affordable housing,” Ms Ekins said.