HE is admired around Port Stephens for standing up to the voting block, he is truly independent and he has 13 years of major achievements on the council.
Geoff Dingle, who went within approximately 500 votes of ousting the Port’s first popularly elected mayor Bruce MacKenzie in 2012, is throwing all his eggs in the one basket by nominating for just the top job.
“I have decided to stand for mayor [and not as a councillor] because I consider myself as someone who is adequately experienced, someone who is truly Independent and I have done the hard yards as a community worker,” the 67-year-old from Medowie said.
“And I am excited that we could be seeing a clearing of the decks to allow some new faces on the next council.”
Among his many achievements on council, Mr Dingle singles out the Medowie planning strategy as his most fulfilling.
“It is one of the first such strategies to be established in the state and remains a very important document in regard to the community’s needs, infrastructure, services and facilities,” he said.
A critic of the leadership style of Mr MacKenzie, Mr Dingle said he would focus on consultation and communication, while improving the transparency of the council.
“I will open council meetings, allow webcasts, improve public access and welcome more site inspections and briefings.
“A mayor’s job is to manage the meetings, not run them, and ensure that everyone is heard and there is a mutual respect between the chair, the councillors and the public.”
As for the next three years, Mr Dingle is not interested in making promises.
He said if elected mayor he would not spend millions on building monuments but instead spend money on maintaining existing infrastructure.
“We have too many projects on the table. We need to sit back and analyse our affairs, our borrowings and formulate five and 10 year plans.
“Some of the best projects are the most simple and least costing ones, such as the fenced off-leash area for dogs in Medowie, which only cost $17,500. I think every community should have one.”
By Charlie ELIAS