OUR NEW LEAD­ERS: Changes at the top in our shire coun­cil

Mansfield Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By PETER HUNT and DAVID MIMS

AT the spe­cial coun­cil meet­ing held last week, the new coun­cil­lors for the Shire of Mans­field were sworn in.

Af­ter the dec­la­ra­tion of the polls, Mans­field’s coun­cil­lors for the next four years are Marg At­t­ley (Tolmie Ward), Peter Olver and Paul Volk­er­ing (Mans­field), Paul Sladdin (Bon­nie Doon) and Harry Wes­ten­dorp (Jamieson).

The coun­cil­lors took the oath of of­fice in front of a large gallery of fam­ily and friends, promis­ing to ‘un­der­take the du­ties in the best in­ter­ests of the peo­ple of the Mans­field Shire’.

The may­oral and deputy may­oral terms were set at 12 months.

There was some in­take of breath from the public gallery when the only nom­i­na­tion for mayor was the new coun­cil­lor for Mans­field ward, Paul Volk­er­ing, and for deputy mayor the other in­com­ing Mans­field ward coun­cil­lor Peter Olver.

Both were elected to their po­si­tions unan­i­mously and un­op­posed.

The mayor pro­vided t he fol­low­ing in­com­ing may­oral speech (edited):

“I grew up here and I feel very priv­i­leged and hon­oured to have been elected as your mayor,” Cr Volk­er­ing said.

“For a Mans­field boy, born and bred, it is truly a hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ence and I hope I can do jus­tice to this im­por­tant role that you have be­stowed upon me.

“As your mayor, ev­ery day that I am in this job will be spent em­brac­ing our com­mu­nity in such a way that we forge pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ships with every­one in the com­mu­nity, even more than we have to date. “For me it started to­day. “I’d like to thank Cr Wes­ten­dorp for nom­i­nat­ing me and Cr Sladdin for sup­port­ing that nom­i­na­tion.

“I feel con­fi­dent, be­cause I am but one mem­ber of a di­verse team.

“To­gether with my fel­low coun­cil­lors we will help shape our com­mu­nity as we move for­ward, but so too will Alex Green, as CEO, and his team.

“And on that note, I would ask that Mr Green pass on to the en­tire staff, with­out ex­cep­tion, our thanks for the won­der­ful job they are do­ing and that we look for­ward to work­ing along- side them to shape the fu­ture of Mans­field.”

Al­lowances for coun­cil­lors and mayor were set at a to­tal of $21,188 for coun­cil­lors and $63,304 for the mayor.

In ad­di­tion, all coun­cil­lors re­ceive a flat rate travel al­lowance set at 66 cents per kilo­me­tre.

Un­der the act, the re­view of al­lowances is open for a pe­riod of 28 days and as such will be sub­mit­ted to the De­cem­ber 21 or­di­nary meet­ing of coun­cil.

A sched­ule of or­di­nary meet­ings of coun­cil was adopted.

Prior to the spe­cial meet­ing, the Mans­field Courier posed two ques­tions to the five in­com­ing coun­cil­lors at the start of their new term in of­fice.

Q1) Your re­ac­tion to be­ing elected (un­op­posed) to Mans­field ward?

Q2) What are your per­sonal goals/aims/ob­jec­tives as a coun­cil­lor for Mans­field Shire? Paul Volk­er­ing (Mayor - Mans­field Ward) Q1: While I was sur­prised at not hav­ing to go to elec­tion, I am some­what un­der­stand­ing of the fact that many peo­ple don’t have the time to be able to com­mit to the work of lo­cal coun­cils.

Re­gard­less of how many peo­ple stood for elec­tion, I in­tend to work as hard as I can to serve the peo­ple of the Mans­field Shire and not just those in my ward.

Although it would have been good to have more peo­ple stand, I’ve been very hum­bled and ap­pre­cia­tive of those who have of­fered their sup­port and good wishes.

Q2: I feel very for­tu­nate to have grown up in this fan­tas­tic town and en­vi­ron­ment, so with a bit more time on my hands, I felt I could give some­thing back.

I think most peo­ple are deeply grounded in their own com­mu­nity, so my per­sonal goals are to en­sure that the over­all health, safety and well-be­ing of our com­mu­nity con­tin­ues to be en­hanced.

Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, I think it im­por­tant to be able to ar­tic­u­late to other lev­els of gov­ern­ment, some of the com­plex­i­ties that our shire faces.

We are a ge­o­graph­i­cally and so­cio- eco­nom­i­cally di­verse com­mu­nity, and we have a wide range of needs, so along with the other coun­cil mem­bers, I in­tend to try and pri­ori­tise projects and op­por­tu­ni­ties for the ben­e­fit of the whole com­mu­nity. Peter Olver (Deputy Mayor - Mans­field Ward) Q1): I am re­ally ex­cited and hon­oured at be­ing elected to the Mans­field Coun­cil rep­re­sent­ing the Mans­field Ward.

I would like to heartily thank all those who have sup­ported me in the process.

There is only one other coun­cil in Vic­to­ria where all the can­di­dates were elected un­op­posed and although sur­prised and thank­ful I was pleased that a spin off meant it saved our ratepay­ers a con­sid­er­able amount of money in not hav­ing to vote.

The five coun­cil­lors are for­tu­nate to be work­ing with our very ca­pa­ble CEO Alex Green and his team and for a fan­tas­tic Mans­field Com­mu­nity.

Q2): We are in a ter­rific po­si­tion where all coun­cil­lors have a pas­sion for our com­mu­nity and time to fo­cus and work on con­tin­u­ing to mould Mans­field as one of the most live­able shires in our coun­try. Marg At­t­ley ((Coun­cil­lor - Tolmie Ward) Q1: I am hon­oured to be re­turned to coun­cil for the next term.

De­spite this, I am dis­ap­pointed that res­i­dents across the shire did not ex­er­cise their demo­cratic right to stand for coun­cil.

There are many who have opin­ions and sug­ges­tions about how coun­cil should be run but don’t put them­selves for­ward to be in­volved. Q2:

Con­tinue to serve the needs of all com­mu­ni­ties;

De­velop stronger com­mu­nity en­gage­ment across all ar­eas of coun­cil pro­grams and pro­cesses;

Through the bud­get process, de­velop par­tic­i­pa­tory bud­get pro­cesses with in­volve­ment of key com­mu­nity mem­bers;

Af­ter broad con­sul­ta­tion, make a de­ci­sion about the fu­ture use of the sa­le­yards site;

De­velop a Youth Coun­cil as part of Youth Ser­vices de­liv­ery;

In­ves­ti­gate the op­por­tu­nity for Nat­u­ral Gas pro­vi­sion;

Re­view Coun­cil Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tees;

I am look­ing for­ward to work­ing closely with the coun­cil team to as­sess the needs and vi­sion of our com­mu­ni­ties. Paul Sladdin (Coun­cil­lor - Bon­nie Doon Ward) Q1): Firstly, I’d like to say that I am hon­oured to be again rep­re­sent­ing the Bon­nie Doon Ward.

It is cer­tainly a stark con­trast to when I was first elected in 2012 when there were 12 can­di­dates stand­ing for the five po­si­tions; and a few lo­cal wits have com­mented we now have a “Steven Brad­bury Coun­cil”.

It’s not a great ad­ver­tise­ment for democ­racy and I’d hate to think it’s a case of ap­a­thy.

Hav­ing an elec­tion cam­paign al­lows the com­mu­nity the op­por­tu­nity to be­come aware of the can­di­dates’ views and val­ues and this is par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant to Mans­field Shire given its uniquely high percentage of non-res­i­dent ratepay­ers who do not have the lo­cal knowl­edge of the can­di­dates.

I would like to think that ratepay­ers over­all were sat­is­fied with the pre­vi­ous coun­cil and this was ev­i­dent in the 2016 Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mu­nity Sat­is­fac­tion Sur­vey where Mans­field Shire Coun­cil out­per­formed its peers and the rest of the state in all key ar­eas.

It was a coun­cil that cut rates, in­creased rural road ex­pen­di­ture and paid greater at­ten­tion to the out­ly­ing com­mu­ni­ties with the roll out of Com­mu­nity Plans which re­sulted in long over­due com­mu­nity in­fra­struc­ture.

It was also a coun­cil that re­vised the Plan­ning Scheme which had been ne­glected for 15 years and im­ple­mented the Do­mes­tic Waste­water Man­age­ment Plan to en­sure con­tin­ued de­vel­op­ment within the shire.

I am, how­ever, both sur­prised and dis­ap­pointed that some of the se­rial letters to the edi­tor writ­ers did not have the courage to put their hands up for elec­tion.

Q2): My per­sonal ob­jec­tive is to work as part of a team with my fel­low coun­cil­lors to en­sure that the out­ly­ing com­mu­ni­ties con­tinue to re­ceive an eq­ui­table share of coun­cil ex­pen­di­ture and to see the im­ple­men­ta­tion of all the rec­om­men­da­tions of the coun­cil en­dorsed Lake Eil­don Land and On-Wa­ter Man­age­ment Plan. Harry Wes­ten­dorp (Coun­cil­lor - Jamieson Ward) Q1: I was en­cour­aged to stand for the Jamieson Ward by a num­ber of the in­cum­bent coun­cil­lors and oth­ers from that ward.

I had ex­pected a con­tested elec­tion, and was sur­prised when that didn’t hap­pen.

I am aware that, af­ter I nom­i­nated, at least one other per­son chose not to stand.

While that may be per­son­ally sat­is­fy­ing, I do be­lieve that a bal­lot with mul­ti­ple can­di­dates is gen­er­ally a good thing as it of­fers vot­ers a greater choice.

I am pleased to have been suc­cess­ful and look for­ward to con­tribut­ing to Mans­field Shire.

Q2: Through my pri­mary school­ing i n Bon­nie Doon, and hav­ing been a non-res­i­dent ratepayer for the past 16 years, I have de­vel­oped a deep com­mit­ment to this dis­trict.

I be­lieve that Mans­field has a great mix of life­styles, in­ter­ests and cul­tures.

As a coun­cil­lor, I will seek to bal­ance the some­times com­pet­ing needs of all the groups in our com­mu­nity, so that we can de­velop fur­ther with­out los­ing the char­ac­ter of the shire that makes it so ap­peal­ing to many.

PHOTO: Peter Hunt

Sworn in last week were the new Mans­field Shire Coun­cil­lors (back, from left,) Harry Wes­ten­dorp, Paul Volk­er­ing and Paul Sladdin; (front) Marg At­t­ley and Peter Olver. The new coun­cil­lors will serve a four year term lead­ing the Mans­field Shire.

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