THE first member of our sacked council to nominate for the forthcoming local government elections will stand for mayor.
Former councillor of 13 years Lisa Intemann was one of nine officers sacked by the state government four years ago over council’s handling of the Glasshouse project.
Ms Intemann was a vocal opponent of the entertainment centre’s budget blow-out before and after Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s 2008 dismissal.
She believes that council stopped listening to the community.
Ms Intemann plans, if elected as either mayor or a councillor, “to serve the community and to ensure we are not overstretching ourselves’’.
Accessibility to the community is the plan of campaign attack she says.
Ms Intemann is one of few candidates so far with local government experience, a trait she believes will give her an edge in the September election.
Stepping down from her position as a journalist at the Wauchope Gazette this week, Ms Intemann is looking forward to “getting out and about” in the community on her individual campaign trail.
Encouragement from the community persuaded Ms Intemann to throw her name into the mix. “Council is unlike any other level of government,” she said.
“Closest to the community, it’s a role that requires not only liaising with staff, but responding to and representing the community.”
Ms Intemann was strongly against the budget blowout of the Glasshouse and says the council’s downfall was a result of its refusal to listen to the community.
“[Fellow former councillor] Jamie Harrison and I both started to speak against the direction of council in relation to the Glasshouse budget in 2005, after it quickly escalated from $20 million to $35 million,” she said.
The final cost came in at $50.2 million.
“The council stopped listening to the community and continued with its vision of creating the most pre-eminent entertainment centre on the east coast,” Ms Intemann said.
This time around, she wants to make clear her position will be to promote the Hastings as a leading regional area in its own right.
“I would give first priority to council’s basic responsibility to serve the community and to ensure we are not overstretching ourselves,” she said.
If elected in either role, Ms Intemann’s next priority would be to help implement ways to manage the council’s debt.
“I’d be looking both within the council and to the community to find ways of avoiding waste,” she said. Lobbying the state government to cut down on red tape in relation to businesses is another priority.
“I’d be finding out how to work together for our most prosperous future,” she said.
Ms Intemann completed a doctor of philosophy (PhD) in March and,combined with her “right sort” of councillor experience and time as a journalist, she believes she can offer a balanced view on a range of issues as mayor or councillor.
Teamwork is essential to ensure the next group of councillors is productive, Ms Intemann says.
“There’s no place for division on a council,” she said. “That’s not to say everyone has to have the same opinion, but it’s important to work together to ensure the best outcome for the community is reached.”
This will be her second attempt at claiming the mayoral crown. Ms Intemann was elected as a councillor in 1995 and 1999.
In 2004, she stood for councillor and the mayoral position, but came third in the running for the latter.