Mayor in waiting

September 17, 2017

Edward River Council general manager Adam McSwain (centre) with elected councilors Norm Brennan (left) and Ashley Hall.

Former Deniliquin Mayor Ashley Hall has ruled out standing against Norm Brennan in the first Edward River Council mayoral election next week.

Cr Brennan declared his intention to stand for the top job on Monday, after first preference votes at the polls on Saturday showed he had overwhelming support from the community to return to local government representation.

At the close of first preference counting on Tuesday night, Cr Brennan held 20.12 per cent of the vote.

He earned more than double the quota of votes required to be elected, with 1028 in total.

Cr Brennan was well clear of Pat Fogarty who polled the second highest number of primary votes, ending up with 10.1 per cent (514 votes).

Cr Hall’s total first preference votes were just short of the 509 quota, finishing with 498 (9.79 per cent) at the final primary count.

Cr Hall said his decision to not stand as mayor was made before election day.

He said after leading the amalgamated council as its administrator for the last 16 months, he was ready to take a step back for a little while.

His role as administrator will officially end at 5pm on Thursday, September 21, as the first meeting of the new council begins.

It is in the first moments of this first meeting the elected councillors will choose their mayor and deputy mayor.

‘‘Even before I registered as a candidate I had said I had no intention of standing as mayor of the new council,’’ Cr Hall said.

‘‘I had decided to run for council after 16 months as administrator of the council.

‘‘I stood so that I could help facilitate what achievements we have made in the last 16 months, and take them further forward.

‘‘I was also keen to continue working on some of the things I had started as administrator.

‘‘There are some items relating to economic development and commercial in confidence the other former councillors would not have been privy to, and there are some very exciting things in the pipeline.’’

Cr Brennan had decided to stand for mayor before going to the polls on Saturday, and said his overwhelming majority of first preference votes supported his decision.

He has officially endorsed Cr Fogarty as his choice for deputy, based on discussions he has had with other elected representatives.

‘‘I think it would represent the right blend and balance,’’ Cr Brennan said.

‘‘Pat has immense experience as a former mayor herself, and I think she will bring a lot to the table.’’

Cr Fogarty said she would take on the role of deputy mayor if it was supported by the other councillors.

‘‘There seems to be a fair amount of support for that (me being Norm’s deputy),’’ Cr Fogarty said.

‘‘I was selling raffle tickets at Central IGA on Wednesday morning and quite a lot of people were asking if I would put my hand up.

‘‘I would be happy to step up to the challenge and I think it may show a joining of the two old councils (if Norm and I lead together).’’

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