BRUCE ALMIGHTY

SACKED, BACK AND NOW READY TO HAVE A CRACK New coun­cil makes Har­wood mayor again as canny ex-cop pulls off num­bers coup

Geelong Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - SHANE FOWLES CITY RE­PORTER

TWO coun­cil­lors thrown out of of­fice 18 months ago have been cho­sen to lead the City of Greater Gee­long in its new era.

Bruce Har­wood was last night elected by his coun­cil col­leagues as mayor, re- turn­ing to a role he has held on two prior oc­ca­sions.

He will be sup­ported by fel­low for­mer po­lice of­fi­cer Peter Mur­rihy, who was cho­sen in a sim­i­lar sign of unity as deputy mayor.

The pair squeezed out two other pop­u­lar can­di­dates.

TWO coun­cil­lors thrown out of of­fice 18 months ago have been cho­sen to lead the City of Greater Gee­long in its new era.

Bruce Har­wood was last night elected by his coun­cil col­leagues as mayor, re­turn­ing to a role he has held twice pre­vi­ously.

Af­ter four peo­ple had ex­pressed an in­ter­est in the top job, the in­com­ing coun­cil­lors pub­licly voted unan­i­mously to in­stall the Kar­dinia ward veteran as their leader.

Cr Har­wood will be sup­ported by fel­low for­mer po­lice of­fi­cer Peter Mur­rihy, who was cho­sen in a sim­i­lar sign of unity as deputy mayor.

Cr Mur­rihy had been in of­fice for six months when the State Par­lia­ment de­cided to sack the Gee­long coun­cil and ap­point ad­min­is­tra­tors in April last year.

Two-time may­oral can­di­date Stephanie Asher (Bel­lar­ine) and for­mer Bendigo Bank boss Pat Mur­nane (Kar­dinia) had sought the mayor’s pos- ition but will have to bide their time.

Cr Har­wood and Cr Mur­rihy were elected to serve for two years.

It en­sures an­other in­ter­nal lead­er­ship vote will be held be­fore the city’s gen­eral elec­tion in 2020.

A civic veteran of 13 years, Cr Har­wood al­luded to the pre­vi­ous coun­cil’s con­tro­ver­sial end but said the new team was fo­cused on its own era.

“It has been a very in­ter­est­ing pe­riod for Gee­long pol­i­tics and the coun­cil’s his­tory in re­cent times,” the mayor said last night.

“But this group has had strong dis­cus­sions about the fu­ture — and it’s where our en­er­gies will be di­rected.”

Cr Har­wood fore­cast a more col­le­gial style of lead­er­ship for the city’s top of­fice, say­ing the views of all 11 coun­cil­lors would be sought.

“You can tell peo­ple are keen to en­gage, they’re keen to bring their ideas to the ta­ble, and we’re re­ally keen to hear and lis­ten to ev­ery­body,” he said.

“Ev­ery­one will be equal around the ta­ble. It’s early days but it’s look­ing promis­ing.”

With the City of Greater Gee­long still work­ing through its ma­jor re­form pro­gram, the State Govern­ment has in­stalled mon­i­tors Jude Munro and Peter Dor­ling to over­see the new coun­cil­lors.

“We’ll work with what­ever sys­tem’s in place. We’re there to do our role; they have a role and that will be re­spected,” Cr Har­wood said.

The lead­er­ship vote fol­lowed an of­fi­cial swear­ing in cer­e­mony, where the 11 coun­cil­lors pledged to up­hold the in­ter­nal code of con­duct.

The Gee­long coun­cil is now made up of 11 coun­cil­lors, who rep­re­sent four wards across the city.

Bruce Har­wood

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