Bob Dougherty was elected to Willoughby Minicipal Council in December 1959, becoming deputy mayor in 1963 and he served five consecutive terms as mayor from 1968. He was defeated in the vote for mayor by Ald David Warner in September 1972. Bob was a staunch Methodist and was active in a number of community groups, particularly those concerned with youth and the welfare of senior citizens.
Dougherty was elected to the Executive of the Local Government Association of NSW in 1970, becoming junior vice-president in 1974, senior vice president in 1976 and assumed the presidency at the Canberra conference in 1978. By then Dougherty was obviously unwell — he was soon to discover that he was suffering from leukaemia — but he increasingly devoted himself to his office of president without respite.
He continued as an alderman on Willoughby Council, demonstrating a concern to retain the locality’s remaining heritage sites, but he passed away on 5 March 1980. He is commemorated by the Dougherty Community Centre and Retirement Village in Victor Street, Chatswood.