MURRAY COOK and Deborah Brown have been returned unopposed as Baw Baw Shire mayor and deputy mayor.
Videos: the video box above features two video interviews; the first with Cr Cook, the second with Cr Brown. Both have a full HD option.
In the poll all nine Baw Baw councillors yesterday councillors Cook and Brown were reelected unanimously.
Despite no challengers coming forward during the public meeting Cr Cook maintained he did not know how the vote would turn out before it took place.
“Right up to the last minute you are never sure which way people [will] vote,” Cr Cook told The Warragul Citizen after the meeting.
The mayor said after a year of review voters can expect him to deliver in his coming term.
“What they can expect now, and that’s why I was interested in standing as mayor again, was we have spent a whole year of reviewing policies… and now it’s time for the actual delivery of some of those policies,” Cr Cook said.
“We will definitely start the process of releasing the policies that we’ve worked down through the year. Some policies we are still working on but as soon as they’re available we will release them to the public for their comment.”
Pictured: Crs Cook and Brown at yesterday’s meeting. Photos and videos by author.
During the meeting Cr Cook indicated the council would move to regulate housing and population growth in Baw Baw.
“Baw Baw will not be a victim of rampant growth. We want ordered growth,” Cr Cook said.
“We will need to review and amend our planning scheme over the first half of 2014.”
Cr Cook also thanked Narracan MP Gary Blackwood and McMillan MP Russell Broadbent for their involvement in lobbying for funds for the Warragul Leisure Centre redevelopment, an update on which will come soon.
“We will soon have a decision on the pool. A small group of [people] have been working with council officers on that,” Cr Cook said.
Cr Cook also paid respect to former Mount Worth ward councillor Bill Harrington and thanked the community for “their patience while we (the new councillors) found our feet” after last year’s election.
You can hear more from Cr Cook by watching the video interview above.
Deputy itching for promotion
Cr Brown told The Warragul Citizen she will try to convince her fellow councillors to elect her as mayor next year, a position she has coveted since her election to represent the North ward last year.
“I’ve made no secret of it that I want to try for mayor and next year’s going to by my year,” Cr Brown said.
“I’m determined to try and get in there… and I will be lobbying, they already know that I want to have a go next year [but] it’s not something that’s decided because we’ve got 12 months to go and a whole lot could change in that time.
“We have this year spent a lot of time, a lot of energy… getting policies looked at, getting to a stage where we’re now ready to start kicking some goals and I think that’s not fair to have Murray do a lot of the hard work as interim mayor and have [me] step in and take all the glory.
Pictured: councillors Gauci, Power, Kostos, Cook, Balfour, Brown, Williamson, Jones and Murphy.
Cr Brown said her three major priorities for this term as deputy were improving community engagement, improving roads and drainage and continuing to “develop the good strong council we have here”.
You can hear more from Cr Brown by watching the video interview above.
Singing praises of the status quo
Councillors also approved their committee and lobby group representatives for the coming year, making few changes to the last year’s positions.
Warragul ward councillor Joe Gauci, who nominated Cr Brown for her return to the deputy position, said consistency was the reason few changes were made to leadership positions.
“We have tried to keep the status quo as much as possible,” Cr Gauci said.
“As a group we agreed once you’ve sort of set your course you keep on it.
“The group is very determined to keep on the right path and keep moving ahead and status quo (sic) is the way to go.”
The present mayor and deputy have held their positions since joining the council after last year’s council elections.
The next mayoral election is expected to occur in 12 months.
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