The role of the casting vote

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Murphy’s Lore: The role of the casting vote. Alan Murphy. 19/08/2014

When our council debates a controversial issue and there is an even number of councillors present, it’s likely there will be an equality of votes, which is why the mayor has a casting vote. The casting vote breaks a deadlock.

Our mayor, Cr Jan Chantry, while opposed to the east-west link project, successfully blocked a proposal to seek legal advice on the cost of joining with Moreland and Yarra councils in a Supreme Court challenge on the new road project. Councillor voting was 4-4, but the mayor’s casting vote defeated the proposal. Moreland says its legal costs are between $65,000 and $175,000 and the mayor, in tune with residents’ views, is in no hurry to spend ratepayer money on what she sees as a futile exercise. So there was no point in wasting time chasing the costs and likelihood of success in legal proceedings.

There is plenty of behind-the-scenes tensions in council because of her determined stance. A decade ago, the mayor of the day, Lydia Kauzlaric, supported a council resolution, “on behalf of her Myrnong ward ratepayers” but, when the deliberative vote was tied, she then exercised her casting vote as the chair of the meeting and voted against the proposal, effectively defeating it. The gallery incorrectly thought she had lost the plot, but the mayor had acted according to the accepted traditions.

Casting votes are a necessity, and if the councillors cannot achieve majority support for a proposal, a casting vote should always be used to reject it.

Wrong direction

Moonee Valley traffic cops are erecting signs advising motorists that vehicles cannot be parked on nature strips. To their credit, they are tackling the difficult parking issues on narrow streets, but they need to take more care to get their arrows facing in the right direction. A keen-eyed motorist who commutes daily on Napier Street, Strathmore, has identified six nature-strips signs on properties between the freeway bridge and Loch Crescent; the arrows are back-to-front! They point north, not south.

All they tell us is we cannot park on the bitumen road at the corners of Lind Street and Loch Crescent, as if we would. And the relevant nature strips are so small, it would be extremely hard to find enough space to park on them in any event. Please take them away.

Award for top apprentice

Despite its reduced membership, the Lions Club of Essendon continues its great community work and last week presented its sixth Apprentice of the Year award to third-year mechanic Anthony Matthews.

The award recognises talented young apprentices, who receive $1000 cash and a $100 voucher from Bunnings at Maribyrnong.

Anthony is based at Essendon Fields working in Mitsubishi’s service centre. Service manager Craig Freshney is so thrilled with his work ethic and skills, he asked him to mentor other apprentices. Anthony’s service work is supported by strong achievements in his associated studies. His objective is to become a Mitsubishi master technician, leading to being a service manager.

The award was made in the Moonee Valley Council chambers as part of the Moonee Valley Foundation Awards ceremony.

Anthony lives in Footscray and loves his work – and his sport, playing lacrosse, basketball and motocross.

Essendon Lions’ motto is “We Serve”, using the creativity, energy and enthusiasm of its members to build a better Moonee Valley. Its contribution over 61 years has been exemplary.

The final word …

Never wear anything that panics the cat.

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