Jimmy Cocking council by-election likely to cost $200,000
By ERWIN CHLANDA
The by-election to fill the vacancy created by Jimmy Cocking’s resignation is likely to cost the town council more than $200,000, according to a well informed source.
At its meeting on September 27 the council estimated the cost would be “$150,853.06 (excluding GST)” but the source says there are likely to be additional expenses.
The election day will be October 29 and nominations are closing on Friday.
The by-election, conducted by the NT Electoral Commission, will need to be held because Cr Cocking resigned more than 18 months before the next full election.
If he had stayed on till January 2024 his vacancy could have been filled by nomination, at no cost to the ratepayer.
Mr Cocking did not respond to requests for comment from the News.
He also stood for Mayor at last year’s election but missed out by two votes and Matt Paterson became the town’s top elected member.
We emailed Mr Cocking the following questions: “Why were you standing for Mayor AND councillor if – as it appears – you had no intention to fill a councillor’s position?
“Why did you not stand for Mayor only?
“Do you expect the ratepayers, now saddled with an expense of $165,000, would have expected you to honour, full time, your obligation to serve as a councillor?”
We received no reply from Mr Cocking despite several requests.
He is the former CEO of the environment organisation Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC) and is now the CEO of Desert Knowledge Australia in Alice Springs.
According to the “Jimmy Cocking for Alice Springs Mayor” fundraising website, which names most of 43 donors, Mr Cocking raised $16,120 for his campaign last year which had a target of $30,000.
In this website (pictured) he stated: “I am running for Mayor of Alice Springs. It’s not the first time but it might be the last time.”
He also said: “I have the potential to be a great Mayor for Alice Springs and will support and grow community leadership along the way.
“We need to ensure we have the trust of the community and demonstrate transparency and accountability on all levels.”