KORUMBURRA’s Bob Newton has emerged as the frontrunner to take over the mayoral position from Jeanette Harding.
The mayoral position will be voted on during a special council meeting this Wednesday, November 4.
Should he get the nod from his council colleagues, it will be the first time Cr Newton will be mayor after 22 years of service as a councillor.
Cr Newton has helped steer council through many tumultuous years, including amalgamations, a $13 million debt, and the controversial Rural Land Use Strategy amongst others.
However, the final year of this South Gippsland Shire Council could be one of the hardest yet.
The 2014-15 year has been punctuated by councillors arguing and abusing each other, disagreements played out in letters to the editor and unruly meetings.
If Cr Newton is mayor, he will need a diplomatic touch to bring council to order and a strong grasp of local matters to advocate on behalf of the community to all levels of government.
As mayor, Cr Newton could have a casting vote on deadlocked issues.
Cr Harding announced she would not run again as mayor at the last meeting she chaired on Wednesday, October 28.
She said she intends to concentrate her efforts on her local ward – particularly Toora and Welshpool.
Deputy mayor Nigel Hutchinson-Brooks said he will not seek the mayorship.
The nominees for the role of deputy mayor are not clear.
First term councillor Lorraine Brunt has confirmed she will run for the position.
If she is elected in, it will mean two Strzelecki Ward councillors holding the top positions.
The last time a Strzelecki Ward councillor held the position of mayor or deputy was Warren Raabe (mayor) in 2010.
Councillors Mohya Davies and Kieran Kennedy have held the position in the past.
Cr Don Hill has indicated he may not have the time between his three jobs – high school teacher, farmer and councillor.
Contesting the position could be Crs Andrew McEwen, Jim Fawcett, Kieran Kennedy or Mohya Davies.
Cr Kennedy resigned from the position of deputy mayor in disgust when councillors voted to transfer funds from their discretionary funds to the revamped community grants (from $10,000 to $4000) in 2010.