EUROBODALLA Mayor Chris Vardon completed his term as Shires Association president last Tuesday – but not his association with the State-wide organisation.
As Immediate Past President Cr Vardon will still be on the executive of the association but will not have to be in Sydney quite so much.
Despite the inconvenience of having to be in Sydney every week for the last two years, Cr Vardon said there were distinct advantages of having a presence in the big smoke where the agendas are set and funding decisions are made.
“There are many mayors who spend an awful lot of their time in Sydney,” Cr Vardon said this week.
The main issue during Cr Vardon’s presidency of the Shires Association was the dual responsibility for the Rural Fire Service.
“After the coroners report on there 1994 fires there had to be some changes to RFS, I went in with the agenda of needing to overcome dual accountability to council and the RFS Commissioner – and issues over how the service’s work was funded,” he said.
“We achieved that change and from July 1, Fire Control Officers will be employees of the State, not councils.
“I’m pleased that last Tuesday the Minister, Bob Debus, allowed me to include in my speech the establishment of a working party to address the issue of funding.”
Cr Vardon was unable, however, to achieve his other goal of merging the Shires Association with the Local Government Association.
Other major issues during the last two years related to planning matters and some work on the Regional Investment Task Force.
He said he expected a number of things to come to fruition from that work in the near future.
“Not all the issues affected the Eurobodalla Shire and it’s difficult to judge what benefits there were.
“But things like having an employee of the Premier’s Department working in Council for a year (Post/Star May 25) didn’t just occur.
“When they know your name, suddenly there’s an interest – doors open.”
The Mayor flagged some other projects which may get up in the next few months as a result of talking to the right people in the right places… with the right money.
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