THERE looks like being four starters in the South Gippsland Shire Council’s race for mayor, to be decided at a Special Statutory Meeting of Council on Wednesday November 15, in the Council Chambers Leongatha at 11.15am.
They are Cr Aaron Brown, Cr Lorraine Brunt, Cr Andrew McEwen and Cr Alyson Skinner; with both Cr Brunt and Skinner confirming they are definite starters.
Behind the scenes, there’s believed to be a lot of strategy being discussed and support promised for what concessions, we don’t know.
But there’s a lot at stake with the council generally split down the following lines: Crs Hill, McEwen and Rich in one camp; Crs Brunt, Edwards and Kiel in another consistent block and Crs Argento, Brown and Skinner the floaters.
In the event that one of the councillors is missing or absent from a vote for pecuniary interest or other reasons, it requires those two established blocks to attract only one more vote to be able to force the issue, on the casting vote of the mayor if they can secure that position as well.
And with serious questions coming up about the new rating strategy, planning applications in the Farming Zone, budget allocations and others in the next few months; the choice of mayor will be crucial.
And there’s also the matter of upwards of $75,000pa for the mayor’s allowance.
Cr Alyson Skinner, despite having only a year’s experience behind her, is emerging as the compromise candidate most likely to succeed if she can survive the first round of voting.
But not even the councillors themselves know how it will pan out under the vagaries of the mayoral voting system.
Meanwhile in the Bass Coast mayoral race, to be run this Wednesday, November 8 at 5pm, present mayor Cr Pam Rothfield is odds-on to win the vote again.