Although he was unsuccessful in both his mayoral bid and re-election campaign for council, John Robson isn’t bitter.
When he was elected in 2013 he promised to pay back a percentage of his salary if voters rejected him in 2016.
John Robson is making good on his 2013 promise to return a portion of his councillor salary if he was not re-elected. File Photo.
If he had been re-elected, John would have been paid out the full amount. As it stands, he only received about 60 percent of the votes he needed, so he will only receive that percentage of his three years’ salary.
“When I was elected I knew there would $150,000 accrued by 2016. I budgeted getting $90,000 of it, and that’s about what I’ll get. So three years ago I guessed pretty accurately what the result was going to be,” laughs John.
He suggests the money be used for a couple of electric cars for the council, and has floated the idea both with outgoing mayor Stuart Crosby and newcomer Greg Brownless.
“The bottom line for me is, I’ve seen too many people go on council making promises they don’t deliver, and they’re never held to account. So this partial salary return was a way of reassuring people that I do what I say I’m going to do.”
In regards to his performance in the election, John believes his poor showing came down to not playing the political game as well as others.
“It was a privilege to be a councillor. I was surprised to get on, but I’m not surprised I lost this time.
“I could have put up meaningless billboards and said everything’s fine, haven’t I done a wonderful job. I could’ve said, as some councillors did, that the rate rises are down, and we’ve got the debt down. But I don’t believe those things are true, and it’s just not me to go down that route.”
As to his mayoral chances, John concedes it probably came down to ‘the devil you know’
“And I was probably the devil people didn’t know,” he muses.
Although he is no longer on council, he still takes an interest in it, and in particular with the lack of engagement with the public – something the new council could address.
“A lot of people think local government is broken. Our turnout is down again, by the looks of it. And just because people aren’t saying ‘no’, it does not necessarily equate to consent.”