Norm wants to take the lead

Bren­nan eye­ing mayor as council make-up is fi­nalised

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - FRONT PAGE - By ZOE MCMAUGH

Norm Bren­nan has al­ready flagged an in­ten­tion to stand as mayor of the new Ed­ward River Council.

It was al­ways go­ing to be a pos­si­bil­ity for the im­me­di­ate past mayor of Conargo Shire Council, but he said he owes it to the res­i­dents to take on the top role.

‘‘I think I have to stand as mayor con­sid­er­ing the results at the polls,’’ Mr Bren­nan said yes­ter­day.

‘‘I have re­ceived a large num­ber of phone calls from peo­ple ask­ing for me to stand for the job.

‘‘As for the deputy, once we know the com­po­si­tion of the new council we’ll have to see who is avail­able for the job.’’

Even be­fore the postal vote dead­line closed at 6pm last night, Mr Bren­nan held a com­fort­able ma­jor­ity across the council area.

He took an early lead on Satur­day night and yes­ter­day was sit­ting at 20.15 per cent of the vote (1024 first pref­er­ences).

He was well clear of the next high­est polling candidates, with Pat Fog­a­rty re­ceiv­ing 10.07 per cent (512 votes) and im­me­di­ate past De­niliquin Council Mayor Ash­ley Hall on 9.80 per cent (498) at the time of go­ing to print yes­ter­day.

With at least 1170 votes yet to be counted, the fi­nal make-up of the council could al­ter dra­mat­i­cally in the next few days.

The next nine high­est vote get­ters are all rel­a­tively close, which means the re­main­ing first and sub­se­quent pref­er­ences to be dis­trib­uted could see any com­bi­na­tion elected.

New­comer Peta Betts polled fourth high­est in the pri­maries counted to date, with 379 (7.46 per cent), fol­lowed by for­mer Conargo coun­cil­lors Mac Wal­lace (374 or 7.33 per cent) and Norm McAl­lis­ter (354 or 6.96 per cent) and fel­low new­comer Mar­garet Bull (353 or 6.94 per cent).

Next along the line are for­mer Conargo coun­cil­lors Peter McCrabb (277, 5.45 per cent) and Nick Met­calfe (227, 4.47 per cent), one-time De­niliquin coun­cil­lor Rob Sobolewski (224, 4.41 per cent), for­mer De­niliquin coun­cil­lor Peter Con­nell (215, 4.23 per cent) and new­comer James Sides (203, 3.99 per cent).

Three for­mer De­niliquin coun­cil­lors did not have an im­pact with votes counted thus far — An­drew How­ley (110, 2.16 per cent), Jeff Shand (70, 1.38 per cent) and Sue Tay­lor (60, 1.18 per cent).

Also fail­ing to make an im­pact at the polls on Satur­day were one time Hay coun­cil­lor Air­lie Cir­cuitt (102, 2.01 per cent) and new­comer Pete Robinson (101, 1.99 per cent).

Mr Bren­nan said while the make-up of the council could change dra­mat­i­cally, it looks like Ed­ward River Council will have a di­verse range of coun­cil­lors.

‘‘I think on the whole the results show that the com­mu­nity wanted a change; they want some­thing new and dif­fer­ent,’’ Mr Bren­nan said.

‘‘Be­fore the elec­tion I wrote a blog say­ing the time had come and that I hoped we would get a bal­ance of old and new coun­cil­lors, and I think it may be achieved.

‘‘It also looks like we’ll have a bal­ance of ru­ral and ur­ban rep­re­sen­ta­tion, and it also ap­pears we may have three women on the council.

‘‘There are some positives we can read out of the results so far, and we will have to work to­gether to de­liver for our com­mu­nity.’’

Mr Bren­nan said his vi­sion for council in­cludes im­prov­ing fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity and ser­vice delivery.

‘‘We have to lis­ten to what the com­mu­nity wants, but we also have to make sure we have sound busi­ness plans.

‘‘There are a lot of pro­pos­als for the district, and we need to make sure if we’re go­ing to in­vest or spend money we’re do­ing it in the right way.’’

The in­au­gu­ral Ed­ward River Council meet­ing has been sched­uled for 5pm on Thurs­day, Septem­ber 21.

Council gen­eral manager Adam McSwain said it will be held at the council cham­bers in Cressy St, De­niliquin and would see each of the coun­cil­lors-elect make their oath or af­fir­ma­tion of of­fice.

“The agenda for the post-elec­tion meet­ing will also in­clude the elec­tion of the first Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Ed­ward River Council, and mem­bers of the com­mu­nity wel­come to at­tend the meet­ing, which is open to the pub­lic,” he said.

“One of the first items up for dis­cus­sion with the coun­cil­lors-elect will be the council meet­ing sched­ule and the dates and times that meet­ings will be held.

‘‘We ex­pect a re­port will be taken to the Septem­ber council meet­ing for a de­ci­sion on this.’’

Ed­ward River Council was formed through the merger of the for­mer De­niliquin and Conargo Shire coun­cils in May 2016.

It was part of the NSW Govern­ment’s Fit for the Fu­ture re­form process, born out of con­cern­ing results of a NSW Trea­sury Cor­po­ra­tion ( TCorp) re­port into council sus­tain­abil­ity in 2013.

To date, the council has been man­aged by govern­ment ap­pointed ad­min­is­tra­tor Ash­ley Hall, with as­sis­tance from for­mer coun­cil­lors of both coun­cils who made up a Lo­cal Rep­re­sen­ta­tion Com­mit­tee.

For­mer De­niliquin Council Mayor Ash­ley Hall, who was the govern­ment ap­pointed ad­min­is­tra­tor of Ed­ward River Council, casts his vote in Satur­day’s elec­tion. Mr Hall cur­rently sits third on the vote count tally.

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