McClaren named mayor

Am­bi­tion to make shire great with help of staff, com­mu­nity

Euroa Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

AMANDA McClaren, Lake Nagam­bie Ward coun­cil­lor, was elected un­op­posed by her fel­low councillors at the statu­tory meet­ing last week to the po­si­tion of mayor.

Cr McClaren said she was hon­oured to ac­cept the role, and looked for­ward to us­ing the wide range of skills and ex­pe­ri­ence both on coun­cil and in the broader com­mu­nity for the bet­ter­ment of the Shire of Strath­bo­gie.

“It’s such a priv­i­lege to be elected as mayor of this coun­cil,” Cr McClaren said in her ad­dress to fel­low councillors and the mem­bers of the pub­lic who at­tended.

“This is a di­verse coun­cil, and one that I think can de­liver great things for our com­mu­nity.”

Cr McClaren is a res­i­dent of the small town­ship of Gray­town, where she and her young fam­ily run a sus­tain­able chicken farm.

As well as her role as chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Fair­ley Lead­er­ship Pro­gram, a Goul­burn Mur­ray Com­mu­nity Lead­er­ship it­er­a­tive aimed at ‘de­vel­op­ing lead­ers to be cat­a­lysts for pos­i­tive change in the Goul­burn Mur­ray Re­gion’, she is also heav­ily in­volved in other as­pects of her com­mu­nity.

This in­volve­ment in­cludes be­ing sec­re­tary of the lo­cal Gray­town-Coster­field Land­care Group, chair of St Joseph’s Pri­mary School in Nagam­bie, and for­mer chair of the Gray­town Com­mu­nity Ac­tion Group.

As some­one with a com­mu­ni­ca­tions and mar­ket­ing back­ground, the new mayor said she was ea­ger to en­cour­age com­mu­nity en­gage­ment with coun­cil and in its de­lib­er­a­tions and de­ci­sion mak­ing pro­cesses.

“I’m pas­sion­ate about com­mu­nity en­gage­ment, and I want peo­ple to hear more and feel more in­volved with the go­ing on of their coun­cil,” she said.

“I be­lieve you will see real change in this area given the coun­cil we have, and as mayor I want to drive that change.”

The coun­cil chose not to elect a deputy mayor for the first time in many years, in­stead choos­ing to nom­i­nate an ‘act­ing chair’ at a meet­ing if Cr McClaren should be un­able to at­tend.

Councillors Kate Stothers, Debra Swan and Mal­colm Lit­tle spoke in favour of this de­ci­sion, ar­gu­ing that in­stead of a sin­gle, for­mal deputy, Cr McClaren would have the ‘back­ing and sup­port of all six councillors as deputies.’

While it may be ‘a lit­tle clunky’ hav­ing to elect the act­ing chair, councillors agreed this was the best way of en­sur­ing all rep­re­sen­ta­tives gain some ex­pe­ri­ence in chair­ing a coun­cil meet­ing, bet­ter pre­par­ing them for per­haps tak­ing on a may­oral role in fu­ture.

Mayor McClaren will hold the po­si­tion for the next 12 months.

She and the rest of her coun­cil can now get on with the task of de­vis­ing the new coun­cil plan and bud­get.

PHOTO: Will Mur­ray

MEET SHIRE’S NEW MAYOR: Amanda McClaren of Gray­town was elected by her fel­low councillors as mayor for the com­ing 12 months.

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