IT MAY not have captured as much attention as tomorrow’s federal poll, but the Bega Valley Shire Council this week elected its mayor and deputy mayor for the coming 12 months.
Cr Bill Taylor will again serve as shire mayor with Cr Russell Fitzpatrick as deputy after an open, show-of-hands vote at Wednesday afternoon’s council meeting.
Cr Fitzpatrick had also nominated for the role of mayor, but was outvoted 5-4.
Crs Michael Britten and Tony Allen nominated for deputy mayor, but Cr Allen withdrew his nomination in favour of putting forward Cr Fitzpatrick in the running once the mayoral ballot was finalised.
Cr Fitzpatrick won the deputy mayor role also in a 5-4 result.
“I’m very pleased to have been re-elected,” Cr Taylor said after the vote.
“I am honoured to be given the confidence of councillors in returning me as mayor.
“We are one council to work together for the next 12 months for the benefit of the whole shire.
“This is a progressive council and is in good shape.
“By any criterion it operates well and represents the 30,000-plus people in the shire and not just the handful of objectors whose voices are heard loudest,” he said.
“I’d like to thank my wife Janice for her support and I look forward to working with Cr Fitzpatrick in the year to come.”
Cr Fitzpatrick said people had asked him if we would be willing to stand as mayor and was philosophical about his narrow defeat in that poll.
“I was quite happy to take that on, but I’m very pleased to be able to represent the people in any way I can,” he said.
Commenting on recent criticism of the council’s engagement with the community, Cr Fitzpatrick said it was “a council culture that takes a while to change, but it is changing”.
“We need to be a can-do council and if there are roadblocks raised by the community we need to work to level those roadblocks.
“We need to sell ideas better and earlier.”
Cr Taylor said the most immediate task is to lead the appointment of a new general manager.
He said staff had already called for expressions of interest from recruitment companies and once a specialist recruiter had been decided upon, a selection panel including the mayor, deputy mayor, councillors if they wish and an independent would be formed to assess applicants.