In charge for next four years

The Mayor joked, ‘there hasn’t been this much tension in this room for years’ as three councillors fought out the Deputy Mayor position on the new Parkes Shire Council yesterday.

The 10 councillors elected following the local government election on Saturday, September 8, met for the first time yesterday.

First job was to elect a Mayor, and Councillor Ken Keith was quickly returned for his fifth term.

It was then down to electing the Deputy Mayor, a position vacated when John Magill did not seek re-election to council.

Three nominations were offered for the position - two sitting councillors in Alan Ward and Barbara Newton, and newcomer, Michael Greenwood.

The ballot was held - with Mr Greenwood coming out on top with four votes, and both other candidates receiving three.

As the bottom two candidates were equal on votes, a draw from a hat was needed to eliminate one of them.

Cr Newton’s name was drawn out, and that left Cr Ward and Cr Greenwood to contest the ballot.

The result was another tie - at five all.

So again, both names went into a hat, and Cr Ward was successful in securing the position.

‘That’s the most tension we’ve had in this room for years,’ Cr Keith commented.

‘I congratulate Cr Ward on his appointment, and also the other two candidates.  I have no doubt all of them would have done a good job.’

Cr Keith thanked the councillors for his endorsement as Mayor.

‘I think council has received a real vote of confidence from voters with the result of the election,’ he said.

(All eight councillors who sought re-election were returned).

‘I appreciate the honour of being Mayor and would like to acknowledge the support of my family, especially my wife Sue.  I could not take on this role without her continual support.

‘The future holds many challenges for council, including major infrastructure such as water and sewerage.

‘We have a harmonious team and I am looking forward to working with all the councillors for the benefit of the shire.’

Cr Keith said his was ‘an open door’ and invited ratepayers and councillors alike to contact him if they had any issues.

‘I am really looking forward to working for the community in the next 12 months.’

After his election to the Deputy Mayor job, Cr Ward said he had ‘mixed feelings’ afterwinning from the draw of a hat, not once but twice.

‘In a lot of ways it epitomises the election,’ he joked.  

(Cr Ward did not poll well with first preference votes, but then came home strongly with the distribution of votes).

‘This a real honour.  During the last four years, I have come to realise just highly regarded this council is.

‘There are exciting years ahead in the future development of the shire.’

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