BAW Baw Shire Councillors made speeches in memory of Mount Worth ward councillor Bill Harrington, who died of heart failure last Friday.
Pictured: Mr Harrington, front centre, with his fellow councillors after being sworn in for his final term.
North ward councillor David Balfour moved a motion at Wednesday’s meeting asking that the council write to Mr Harrington’s family acknowledging his contribution to the shire and community, makes a donation to the Heart Foundation in his memory and that flags be lowered to half mast today.
Speaking to the motion, Cr Balfour recalled the years he had known Mr Harrington.
“My time with Cr Harrington goes back a bit before [he joined council, meeting him] at a football event,” Cr Balfour said.
“Cr Harrington was in charge… then he left and became involved with local government… and stood for Mount Worth ward and stood there and has represented that ward for many years, since 1997.
“In 2002 I stood for council and at that stage we had nine wards, [and] so may times… Cr Harrington would come down to Trafalgar, we would meet in Trafalgar and discuss things happening around town.
“It was a great working relationship with two councillors.
“He stood again and sometimes he never even had an opponent, which shows his position in the community.
“When he came to council meetings he always sat here and we looked to Bill when it came to budget things because he was an ex-bank manager.
“He kept a pretty close eye on where the council’s budgets were and he did an extremely good job of that.
“The year he was mayor (2000-2001) was the time of the saleyards, when the saleyards were in the hands of a private person and Bill went over many many meetings (with them).
“It’s been a long ten years I’ve worked with Bill and sat here though many meetings.
“Last Wednesday he stood up and asked us if we wanted a cup of tea and went out and came back with a cup of tea, and now he’s gone.”
Mayor and Mount Worth ward councillor Murray Cook said the council had lost an important man.
“This new council has definitely had a reality check and I don’t think there was [anything] in Bill’s way,” Cr Cook said.
“His experience, sense of humour and quiet demeanour will be missed throughout council.”
Drouin ward councillor Tricia Jones said the donation to the Heart Foundation was appropriate.
“He had a heart condition and so making the donation to the heart foundation in his memory is very fitting,” Cr Jones said.
“Really all I can add is that Bill was a good friend to me and I feel his absence deeply.”
Warragul ward councillor Joe Gauci said Mr Harrington’s experience made coming to council less daunting for new members.
“I had the privilege of sitting next to him at many meetings and hearing many of his sly jokes,” Cr Gauci said.
“I could lean over and ask ‘can we do that Bill,’ and we would get direction from him.
“Knowing him for this short time [makes this] a hard time… but for the people who have known him for a long time it must be a lot harder.”
North ward councillor Deb Brown recalled her and her husband’s service with Mr Harrington on the council.
“He was an absolute true friend then and has remained (so),” Cr Brown said.
“He’s a true gentleman and he’s always treated me and (my husband) Robert like that and he’s just been absolutely fantastic.”
Warragul ward councillor Gerard Murphy celebrated Mr Harrington’s motives as a councillor.
“For 15 years Cr Harrington, Bill, has been a councillor for all the right reasons,” Cr Murphy said.
“In this chamber [he was] a calming figure, and I know that we will keep his memory going and that guidance and support.
“Vale Bill Harrington.”
Drouin ward councillor Terry Williamson remembered Cr Harrington’s friendship.
“Since most of us are new on the council and since I’ve been a councillor, Bill just proves that he is a gentleman and a good friend and we all wish his family well and through this hard time.”
Warragul ward councillor Mikaela Power remembered Mr Harrington’s friendly personality.
“I’m sitting here and I’d look across to Bill and he’d have a grin or sort of raise an eyebrow,” Cr Power said.
“He knew how to talk to and, most importantly, to listen.”
Baw Baw CEO Helen Anstis described Mr Harrington as a “gentleman” in a statement released last Saturday.
“Bill was a dedicated husband and father, a well-respected Justice of the Peace, and active member of the community, participating on many sporting club and community boards.
“Bill was a true gentleman: quiet; witty and passionate. He will be missed by many in our community and especially within Council.”
A service was held in Mr Harrington’s memory earlier today.
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