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Controversial mayor Lorraine Rosenberg won't run again

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Onkaparinga mayor Lorraine Rosenberg has announced she will not contest the next election following more than 12 months of controversy over council spending – ending a 33-year career in local government.

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Rosenberg, who has served 12 years as mayor of SA’s largest council, stepped down as head of the Local Government Association in June amid ongoing scrutiny – including an ombudsman’s investigation – of the council’s staff and credit card spending.

She had been the public face of the LGA’s campaign against the Liberal Party’s rate-capping policy.

Onkaparinga councillors also passed a motion of no confidence in her leadership in June.

However, Rosenberg said she was leaving the role to spend more time with family, having influenced significant policy achievements for the Onkaparinga community.

“I feel that now is the right time for me to provide someone else with the opportunity to enjoy the honour of being mayor of the best region in South Australia,” said Rosenberg in a statement this morning.

“I’m planning to spend more time with my family and looking after my farm, but I’ll remain a fierce advocate for Onkaparinga and its communities.

“My daughter remarked recently she has been making appointments to see me since she was nine so she will love this decision.”

Rosenberg said she had been instrumental in the council’s trade and investment strategy, and led the signing of sister and friendly city agreements that had attracted investments of $6 million within the Onkaparinga region, as well as $1 million worth of export deals during the final six months of 2017.

Rosenberg was recognised with a national Economic Leadership Award from Economic Development Australia, for her efforts to encourage economic growth and investment attraction in the region..

She advocated Onkaparinga Council’s ON Business partner program, which supports 600 new and existing businesses with advice and education.

Rosenberg also won the Joy Baluch Award in 2017, for her support of the advancement of women in local government.

However, she found herself at the centre of a media and political storm last year over perks for Onkaparinga CEO Mark Dowd – including a golf club membership – and the use of corporate credit cards by staff.

That scandal only escalated, and by the middle of this year, fellow mayors were arguing her leadership of the Local Government Association was tarnishing the brand of councils across the state.

Ombudsman Wayne Lines had confirmed he was investigating the widespread use of ratepayer-funded corporate credit cards at Onkaparinga Council, as well as a $6800 golf club membership for Dowd (since repaid).

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