Arthur Fraunfelder has informed the Border Mail that he will not be seeking re-election to Albury City Council.
Fraunfelder was elected in the 2004 council elections with a whopping 34% of the vote. He was the great Liberal hope for Albury City and his high personal vote flowed on to the rest of the Liberal ticket, electing Alice Glachan and Paul Wareham.
With such an amazing endorsement from the public in Albury City (where it is rare for the personal vote of a council candidate to get into double figures), it was only right that Fraunfelder became Mayor straight after the election.
His comments in the Border Mail indicate that he and his wife enjoyed his term as Mayor, but his popular mandate was not enough to hold the position of Mayor whilst his ticket held a minority of seats on council. Ultimately a Mayor is accountable to the members of Council, and not the public.
His toppling in 2006 by Amanda Duncan-Strelec was disastrous for Liberal party. It was a massacre, Fraunfelder and his Liberal compatriots were denied any position of influence on the council’s many committees.
Having been excluded from the process it is little wonder that Fraunfelder became disengaged with the process. His attendance record and lack of firm position on the Wareham controversy has been criticised by other council members, including current Mayor, Stuart Baker.
In the past political parties ran shadow tickets, they didn’t officially endorse anyone, everyone claimed to be independent, and after the election there was some attempt to work as a collective. By leading a successful Liberal ticket Fraunfelder created what Amanda Duncan-Strelec cynically described as “the new reality”.
The Liberals have decided not to run a ticket in the coming election. It was a riotous success in leveraging Fraunfelder’s popularity, but a disaster when it placed them in the position of being a combative minority on council. But it seems the combative element will remain, this time Labor have endorsed a ticket.
This is Fraunfelder’s legacy. He didn’t achieve much in two years as Mayor, and even less as an excluded councillor in the two years after he was toppled, but he brought overtly party political tickets, “the new reality”, to Albury.
As Fraunfelder’s lacklustre time in “opposition” demonstrated, it’s a “new reality” that he ultimately wasn’t cut out for.