Mayor in wait­ing

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - EDWARD RIVER COUNCIL ELECTION - By ZOE MC­MAUGH

For­mer De­niliquin Mayor Ash­ley Hall has ruled out stand­ing against Norm Bren­nan in the first Ed­ward River Coun­cil may­oral elec­tion next week.

Cr Bren­nan de­clared his in­ten­tion to stand for the top job on Mon­day, af­ter first pref­er­ence votes at the polls on Sat­ur­day showed he had over­whelm­ing sup­port from the com­mu­nity to re­turn to lo­cal gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

At the close of first pref­er­ence count­ing on Tues­day night, Cr Bren­nan held 20.12 per cent of the vote.

He earned more than dou­ble the quota of votes re­quired to be elected, with 1028 in to­tal.

Cr Bren­nan was well clear of Pat Fog­a­rty who polled the sec­ond high­est num­ber of pri­mary votes, end­ing up with 10.1 per cent (514 votes).

Cr Hall’s to­tal first pref­er­ence votes were just short of the 509 quota, fin­ish­ing with 498 (9.79 per cent) at the fi­nal pri­mary count.

Cr Hall said his de­ci­sion to not stand as mayor was made be­fore elec­tion day.

He said af­ter lead­ing the amal­ga­mated coun­cil as its ad­min­is­tra­tor for the last 16 months, he was ready to take a step back for a lit­tle while.

His role as ad­min­is­tra­tor will of­fi­cially end at 5pm on Thurs­day, Sep­tem­ber 21, as the first meet­ing of the new coun­cil be­gins.

It is in the first mo­ments of this first meet­ing the elected coun­cil­lors will choose their mayor and deputy mayor.

‘‘Even be­fore I reg­is­tered as a can­di­date I had said I had no in­ten­tion of stand­ing as mayor of the new coun­cil,’’ Cr Hall said.

‘‘I had de­cided to run for coun­cil af­ter 16 months as ad­min­is­tra­tor of the coun­cil.

‘‘I stood so that I could help fa­cil­i­tate what achieve­ments we have made in the last 16 months, and take them fur­ther for­ward.

‘‘I was also keen to con­tinue work­ing on some of the things I had started as ad­min­is­tra­tor.

‘‘There are some items re­lat­ing to eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and com­mer­cial in con­fi­dence the other for­mer coun­cil­lors would not have been privy to, and there are some very ex­cit­ing things in the pipe­line.’’

Cr Bren­nan had de­cided to stand for mayor be­fore go­ing to the polls on Sat­ur­day, and said his over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of first pref­er­ence votes sup­ported his de­ci­sion.

He has of­fi­cially en­dorsed Cr Fog­a­rty as his choice for deputy, based on dis­cus­sions he has had with other elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

‘‘I think it would rep­re­sent the right blend and bal­ance,’’ Cr Bren­nan said.

‘‘Pat has im­mense ex­pe­ri­ence as a for­mer mayor her­self, and I think she will bring a lot to the ta­ble.’’

Cr Fog­a­rty said she would take on the role of deputy mayor if it was sup­ported by the other coun­cil­lors.

‘‘There seems to be a fair amount of sup­port for that (me be­ing Norm’s deputy),’’ Cr Fog­a­rty said.

‘‘I was sell­ing raf­fle tick­ets at Cen­tral IGA on Wed­nes­day morn­ing and quite a lot of peo­ple were ask­ing if I would put my hand up.

‘‘I would be happy to step up to the chal­lenge and I think it may show a join­ing of the two old coun­cils (if Norm and I lead to­gether).’’

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