Wollondilly councillor Ray Law resigns

 Picture: Jeff de Pasquale
Picture: Jeff de Pasquale

Wollondilly residents will be heading to the polls again after the shock resignation of councillor Ray Law this week.

Mr Law said he handed back his laptop, council key card and resigned on the spot after Monday night’s council meeting.

“I was so disgusted with the council that I pulled the pin right after the meeting,” he said.

“I don’t believe that the council is being run effectively.”

Mr Law said the decision to resign was not an easy one.

“I’ve been on council for nearly five years so it was a very hard decision to make,” he said.

“I never wanted to be mayor or anything like that, I just wanted to be Ray Law from Bargo doing my bit for the community.

“We have a great shire and I wanted to do right by the people here but it got to a point where I couldn’t do that anymore.”

Mr Law said the tipping point for him was a review of the organisational structure of the council’s directors.

“I believe it was rushed through so the general manager could get what he wanted,” he said.

“I don’t believe the councillors are running the council.”

Wollondilly mayor Judith Hannan said other councillors did not share Mr Law’s view.

“Ray was first elected to council in 2012 and has been an active councillor and a tireless advocate for the community,” she said.

“I wish him well in his future endeavours and would like to thank him for the time he has served at council.

“Whilst it is sad to see him go, Wollondilly’s other councillors have expressed strong support for the management and direction of the organisation.”

Mr Law, who is also chairman of the Picton Anzac Day Committee, said residents should have been able to see the organisational structure report and provide feedback about the proposed structure.

“I think it is important for residents to see every report but they weren’t given that chance,” he said.

Wollondilly Council now faces a by-election where a new councillor will be elected by residents.

Campbelltown Council’s recent by-election in the wake of councillor Fred Borg’s death cost ratepayers upwards of $500,000.

After the by-election more than 26,000 Campbelltonians who failed to vote were fined $55 each.

Wollondilly Council general manager Luke Johnson said the exact cost of the by-election was still being calculated.

“We estimate that this could be in the vicinity of $60,000,” he said.

“Further details will be known once we engage the services of the NSW Electoral Commission.

“We will work directly with the electoral commission so that our residents are well informed on the date of the by-election and the process involved.”

Mr Law said the potential cost to ratepayers was something he had struggled with.

“That is one of the reasons [resigning] was so difficult,” he said.

“But the potential cost is just a drop in the bucket compared to the money council spend covering their own butts.”

NSW legislation dictates that a by-election must be held within three months of notification to the NSW Electoral Commission.

There is no countback option.

Mr Johnson has already notified the electoral commission of Mr Law’s resignation.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ray for his contribution to the community and wish him all the very best for the future,” he said.

Mr Law also had a message for Wollondilly voters.

“Thank you so much for the vote of confidence I feel very humbled to have represented the community and I hope they don’t feel like I have let them down.”