Role of Councillors and the Mayor


Each council is a statutory corporation. The Councillors, meeting as the Council, are the governing body of the corporation. Councillors have the responsibility of directing and controlling the affairs of the Council in accordance with the Local Government Act 1993. Section 232 of the Act sets out the role as follows:

  1. The role of a councillor is, as a member of the governing body of the council:
    • to direct and control the affairs of the council in accordance with this Act;
    • to participate in the optimum allocation of the council's resources for the benefit of the area;
    • to play a key role in the creation and review of the council's policies and objectives and criteria relating to the exercise of the council's regulatory functions; and
    • to review the performance of the council and its delivery of services, and the management plans and revenue policies of the council.
  2. The role of a councillor is, as an elected person:
    • to represent the interests of the residents and ratepayers;
    • to provide leadership and guidance to the community; and
    • to facilitate communication between the community and the council.


The Mayor of Woollahra is one of the fifteen Councillors and is elected, as Mayor, by the Council in September each year. The Mayor continues to have the role of a Councillor and, in addition, has the specific role defined by Section 226 of the Act. This role is:

  • to exercise, in cases of necessity, the policy-making functions of the governing body of the council between meetings of the council;
  • to exercise such other functions of the council as the council determines;
  • to preside at meetings of the council; and
  • to carry out the civic and ceremonial functions of the mayoral office.

The Council has delegated to the Mayor the following "other functions":

THAT subject to compliance with the requirements of the Local Government Act 1993, and Regulations thereunder, and any expressed policy of the Council or regulations of any public authority other than the Council, and pursuant to Section 377 of the Local Government Act 1993, the Mayor be authorised to exercise or perform on behalf of the Council the following powers, authorities, duties or functions; such authorisation to be effective whilesoever he/she remains in the position of Mayor:

a. To authorise the briefing of Counsel, in the resisting of any Appeal, if such is recommended by the Council Solicitors and/or staff.

b. To refer to the General Manager any matter considered to need investigation and report.

c. To have delegated authority for the appointment of a Review Panel on an annual basis, to conduct the General Manager's Contract and Performance Agreement Review in accordance with the Terms of Reference adopted by Council on 14 August 2000.

d. To have the delegated authority to appoint delegates and alternate delegates to the Annual Conference of Local Government New South Wales.

e. Unless appointed by a Resolution of Council, to appoint Councillor representatives to working parties, task forces, community committees and other organisations and where appropriate, appoint the Chairperson of those working parties, task forces or community committees.

f. To have delegated authority (in conjunction with the General Manager) to authorise Councillors attendance at conference, seminars and similar functions in accordance with Council's Payment of Expenses and Provision of Facilities to the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Councillors Policy.

g. To ensure, through the General Manager and staff, generally, that the interests of the Council and its community are protected by the authorisation of necessary actions relating to the resisting of Appeals, instructing of Solicitors and Counsel as necessary, conferring with applicants and others; PROVIDED THAT in the exercise of such powers and authorities the Mayor shall not act contrary to specific Council resolutions taken beforehand.