Occupation: Owner of AD Tours
Marital status: Married
Standing for: Mayor
1. You’re only running for mayor surely if you had the best interests of the community at heart you would be running for councillor too, what’s behind this decision?
I’ve been on council for 13 years and I know that in order to make some real change I need to be in the top job. That’s why I made the decision to only run for mayor – I’m aiming for the top job. I know I can encourage the councillors to work as a team and have common goals and work towards those goals.
2. In your last term, you’ve been closely aligned with the faction of Dino Zappacosta, Simon Croce and Christine Stead, do you think that sort of bloc voting is detrimental to good governance?
Maybe the question should be why I haven’t been aligned with the Mike Neville, Bill Lancaster, Peter Taylor, Anne Napoli, Pat Cox, Dom Testoni and Doug Curran faction? In order to achieve something in local government, numbers do come into it. We have been tarred as being a faction but it’s not really true because we don’t vote on every item as a bloc – quite often we don’t agree. It’s a bit unfortunate that we have been grouped as such, but that’s been done by some others who are against us.
3. You’ve been criticised in the past for struggling to attend regular council meetings because of your job as a bus driver, do you think that’s a concern if you’re elected mayor?
It’s a misconception in the community that I’m never here. On average I would be in Griffith for 20 working days a month. That is on average and there is an odd month, where I might be away for a few nights but my work mainly takes me away on weekends. If I was elected mayor I will have an obligation to be in Griffith a lot more. I can do that because we put our own tours together so we are able to arrange our work around council meetings and on most occasions that is what has been happening. I believe I have far more time to devote to the role than for example someone who is a 9 to 5 worker.
4. In recent weeks you’ve been outspoken on council’s decision to sell the Railway Street block, are you just playing politics or do you truly believe this sale will hurt more than help the community?
I am not playing politics. That land was purchased by council and it was purchased as a long-term vision for council’s civic offices and office functions like a civic centre. It’s the prime spot in the centre of Griffith and the sale they voted for has lost the community of Griffith at least $600,000 without looking at what land values might be in five years’ time. I don’t think that’s acceptable to the community and we shouldn’t have to accept that sort of mismanagement. Some have been determined to sell that land for the past four years and I can’t understand why. If there has been any bad investments made, it was the Lake Wyangan farms which the current mayor had a big hand in purchasing, and have been sitting on the books for 10 years.
5. Why would you make a better mayor than the other candidates?
I have at least been on council for a period of time compared to some of the candidates. It’s not a role you can step into lightly. I’m hanging my hat on the fact that I’m honest and I bring a business mentality to council and being efficient is a strong attribute that I can also bring along. Commonsense is probably the greatest one. I’m nothing special, but I think commonsense needs to be brought into a lot of the thinking. We’re so hamstrung with rate pegging, not that it’s a bad thing, but we really need to look at our core services and do them extra well. There are a lot of areas that I feel need some amount of change and I can’t make those changes unless I’m mayor.