BATHURST'S next mayor could be elected on Christmas Eve as a result of the delayed local government election, while other councils could have no mayor for over a month.
The concern was raised during the September ordinary meeting of Bathurst Regional Council, as the chamber discussed a notice of motion presented by deputy mayor Monica Morse.
She requested council to lobby the minister for Local Government regarding the elections in December.
The election was initially meant to be held in September, 2020, but was delayed by 12 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was moved again, from September 2021 to December 2021, as the state tried to get on top of the Delta outbreak.
Now scheduled for December 4, and with more absentee voting anticipated, councils are concerned about how long it will take to determine the results of the election.
"A lot of councils in the regional areas don't do anything in January, they shut down virtually, and so it's going to mean that by time the postal votes are counted - that may not be before Christmas - that we might not have a council actually in place until the end of January," Cr Morse said.
She added that there is also concern some areas will be without mayors.
"The law has been changed in 2017 that there's no longer going to be a caretaker mayor between the local government election and then the council electing a new mayor," she said.
"There's 91 councils that are affected by this change and it means virtually no democratic representation will be to 91 councils and the general managers ... are running the council for six weeks without a mayor or even a caretaker mayor."
As Bathurst doesn't have a popularly elected mayor, it would likely be affected if it takes weeks to determine the result of the election.
General manager David Sherley is anticipating it will take a while, given postal votes can be returned up until December 17.
"It will be at least a couple of weeks. I'm working on the basis that we will potentially have a mayoral election for this council on either December 23 or 24, that's probably around the earliest," he said.
Cr Morse also raised concerns about successful candidates not being in Bathurst for the mayoral election due to travel plans.
Mr Sherley said he can't contact candidates yet because he doesn't know who they all are, or what the timeline will be for the elections.
Council resolved to write to local government minister regarding the concerns.
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