Stretch to lose key portfolio
STRETCH Kontelj will be voted off the finance committee when the City of Greater Geelong reshuffles councillor portfolios next week.
Cr Kontelj confirmed this week he no longer had the numbers to stay in the key posting, which he has held since 2012.
Jan Farrell will instead join the committee alongside Cr Kontelj’s brother Eddy and Mayor Darryn Lyons.
Stretch Kontelj said he had accepted a compromise offer from his colleagues to be the council’s first veteran’s affairs portfolio holder when the positions are formally voted on at Tuesday night’s meeting.
“I recognise the numbers were against me (for) finance,” he said. “All things being equal, I was happy to continue, but all things are not equal any more … I will have to learn to live in the new paradigm.”
Aligned with his brother and Cr Lyons, Stretch Kontelj has found himself at loggerheads with the majority bloc on council, which includes fellow Liberal Party member and deputy mayor Michelle Heagney, former Labor state candidate Andy Richards and Cr Farrell.
Another Liberal councillor, Ron Nelson, also confirmed he was in a battle to keep his tourism and major events portfolios.
With the 2015-16 budget on the horizon, Stretch Kontelj said the new finance committee would have a tough job adhering to the Labor State Government’s demand that councils restrict property rate increases at or below the level of the consumer price index.
He said it was time the broader council implemented savings measures first recommended to it in 2013.
Cr Nelson said he was keen to keep the tourism and major events portfolios.