Bartley clear election favourite

MORE than 450 votes were cast when Southern Downs residents took to their computers to nominate which councillor they would re-elect in a Warwick Daily News poll.

Ratepayers were given one week to vote for their choice of councillor, a precursor to the council election in March next year.

Of the 460 votes, Cr Ross Bartley was the clear favourite with 112 votes (24%).

Leading the rest was Cr Jo McNally, who has been in the job for 18 months, with 70 votes (15%).

Following those was Cr Vic Pennisi with 63 votes (13%) and Mayor Ron Bellingham with 60 votes (13%); Cr Neil Meiklejohn with 44 votes (9%) and Deputy Mayor Peter Blundell with 43 votes (9%).

Stanthorpe-based councillors Mally McMurtrie, Cameron Gow and Denise Ingram rounded the poll off with 27 votes (5%), 21 votes (4%) and 20 votes (4%) respectively.

Aside from Mayor Ron Bellingham and Deputy Mayor Peter Blundell, all councillors have either committed to running again in the next election, or at least indicated they would like to.

After hearing about his large tally of votes, Cr Bartley said he was "quietly conservative" about the outcome.

"I suspect it might be a bit one-sided," he said.

"It was probably entered by the people who read the Daily News, and people in Stanthorpe read the Border Post.

"It would have been good to involve (people from Stanthorpe) - there are a lot of computer-literate Stanthorpe people and I understand the Border Post doesn't have a website, but it would have given a wider view."

Cr Bartley said he would advise anyone thinking of running for council to give it a try first.

"I'd encourage anyone to come to the meetings and see what it's like," he said.

"You may not like it - you may not like the type of conversations and may not like what you need to learn. These days you have to be a walking encyclopaedia."

The poll didn't allow more than one person from the same IP web address to cast a vote, to make results as accurate as possible.

The second group of sitting councillors for the Southern Downs region will be elected in March 2012. All council elections are held at the same time every four years.

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