Deniliquin Pastoral Times
Norm Brennan was returned as Edward River Council Mayor yesterday after an anonymous internal ballot at council’s ordinary meeting.
Councillor Peta Betts contested the top job, which ended in a 5-4 split in Cr Brennan’s favour.
While local government elections were deferred from September to December 4 due to the NSW COVID outbreak, the Office of Local Government confirmed mayoral elections would still need to be held at the first council meeting following the original election date.
Cr Brennan said his 26 years of experience in local government spoke for itself, including experience at Conargo Council and Edward River.
‘‘On both those councils I’ve been on a lot of different committees ranging from the easy topic of water to many hard and difficult topics,’’ he said.
‘‘So my track record is there for anyone to have a look at.’’
In a speech to her fellow councillors, Cr Betts said:
‘‘This nomination is about sending messages it’s about opportunities and it’s about building solid foundations on honesty, accountability, transparency through information networks and most importantly teamwork.
‘‘Deniliquin Council and Conargo Council no longer exist, whilst Edward River Council is young and fresh and deserves a fresh set of eyes,’’ she said.
Despite the outcome, Cr Betts hopes her nomination will ‘‘set an example that hopefully inspires many others to put their hands up for nomination at the upcoming election’’.
She said her involvement in the successful Seniors Living Precinct project, among other committee projects prompted her to stand for the job.
‘‘The opportunity to see that up and running and to finally fill that long-awaited gap in our community is awesome,’’ she said.
‘‘I wish for nothing better than to see Edward River Council thrive, prosper and grow and I want to look back in time with your help and your assistance and see what we together as a collective and a team have managed to achieve.’’
Deputy Mayor Pat Fogarty was also reelected by just one vote, gaining five votes to Ashley Hall’s four.
‘‘I’ve been in the role for quite some time and I’ve supported Norm (Brennan) for quite some time, and I’m happy to continue to do that,’’ Cr Fogarty said.
‘‘I really want to see some of the big projects that we’ve put into place come to fruition particularly the Seniors Living Project, the Town Hall and others,’’ she said.
Cr Hall said his long-term role with Deniliquin Council and now Edward River Council were testament to his ability to hold the position.
‘‘It’s been a difficult role that I can fill, and it’s second to none in terms of what I can offer in supporting the mayor and the general manager,’’ he said before the ballot.