TWO former councillors have spoken out against the popular election of Griffith's mayor, just weeks after the community used its power to elect a new leader.
Mike Neville was the first mayor elected by the public in 2008 and John Dal Broi followed in his footsteps last Saturday, earning 24 per cent of first preference votes.
Previously, the mayor was chosen by the councillors every 12 months, but a referendum in 2004 found 54 per cent of residents wanted to have a say in who should lead the city.
Despite the public's enthusiasm, former councillors John Bonetti and Jock Donaldson believed the community was ultimately disadvantaged by electing its own mayor.
"My concern is that the councillors have to work with this person for four years," Mr Bonetti said.
"If something goes wrong in that time for example if the person elected is sued or has a fallout with the other councillors it can become a big problem.
"No mayor who's been popularly elected is going to walk out if he becomes unpopular or something happens, which means he can't devote 100 per cent of his effort to the job."
In May, councillors debated whether another referendum should be held to determine whether the public still supported a popularly elected mayor after seeing the system in practice for four years.
The proposal was abandoned, primarily to avoid the expense of a referendum at a time when council is struggling for financial stability.
Mr Donaldson, who served on council from 1999 until 2004, said he had never supported the concept of a popularly elected mayor.
"The only people who can truly judge the performance of a mayor are the councillors around the table," Mr Donaldson said.
"It's the same as corporate law. Whether you're a public or private company, the shareholders don't elect a chairman, the board members do.
"Council is a big business and it handles a considerable amount of money on behalf of ratepayers to me councillors are the directors and they run a not-for-profit community business."
Mr Donaldson said the primary advantage of the old system was the ability to elect a new mayor every year if the current leader was underperforming.
But recently retired deputy mayor Domenic Testoni said the people's vote was the best way to make sure council provided proper representation for the community.
"The danger of having the mayor elected by the councillors, which history has shown, is that he or she is too often chosen along factional lines," Mr Testoni said.
"The position of mayor should be held in high regard and the people should have the right to vote for the person they want."