Mayor Damien Ryan’s triumph over four rivals who had run a concerted effort to unseat him is a considerable achievement, especially in light of the fact that he is the only local government leader of all the NT’s major population centres to have been returned to office following the recent council elections.
Ryan’s victory maintains the pattern of every Alice Springs mayor since 1977 winning at least two successive elections; but it’s also the fourth occasion where the result has been determined by preference distribution.
The earlier occasions were George Smith in 1977, Fran Kilgariff in 2000, and Ryan in 2008. Thus Ryan’s recent victory is unique as this marks the first time an incumbent mayor has had to rely on preferences to cross the line.
Setting aside this distinction, there are marked similarities between Ryan and former Mayor George Smith. Both were small businessmen and both were elected mayors without prior involvement on the town council. Neither had stood for alderman, too. ALEX NELSON reminisces.
PHOTO: Mayor George Smith with photographer Di Calder posing for her calendar featuring prominent locals in the nude – well, almost. Photo by CARMEL SEARS.