THE flag has officially dropped in the race for the South Gippsland Shire Council with upwards of 20 candidates publically declaring their interest in running for election at a candidate information session in Leongatha yesterday.
Bass Coast isn’t due to hold its information sessions until next month, less than a month away from the opening of nominations; at Grantville on Monday, August 22; at Cowes on Tuesday, August 23 and at Wonthaggi on Thursday, August 25 (each session 7pm-9pm.
Among those in attendance at Leongatha, but not necessarily declaring as candidates were: Maxine Kiel, Mohan De Run (Bass Coast), Meg Edwards, Graham Heath, Jim Fawcett, Ian Nichols, Ron Brown, Joan Turner, Robert Buchan, David Amor, Graeme Winkler, Les Larke, Dan Corcoran, Clyde Patterson, Alyson Skinner, Bob Newton, Mohya Davies, Don Hill, Janette Harding and Andrew McEwen.
There may be others who either weren’t at South Gippsland’s only candidate information session yesterday or are yet to make a decision to stand.
Special guest speaker at the information session was Bass Coast CEO Paul Buckley.
He was at pains to stress the separation of powers between the council and the workings of the shire.
“The council employs the CEO and the CEO does everything else in terms of the daily operations of council, the hiring and firing and all the rest.”
He said the CEO had a range of responsibilities, set out in Section 94 A of the Local Government Act 1989. These include establishing and maintaining an appropriate organisational structure for the council, ensuring that council decisions are implemented promptly, overseeing the daily management of council operations following the council plan, developing a code of conduct for council staff and providing timely advice to the council.
He said that in considering the needs of the community and their aims as councillors, that the best way to achieve those aims was to have those policies enshrined in the Council Plan and introduced into the budget process.
As a last resort, councillors could also move a ‘Notice of Motion’ but he counselled against such a course of action on regular basis.
He also stressed “team work” as an attribute for councillors.
“The council needs to work as a team. If you can’t get four other people to put up their hands at the same time as you, you’re not going to get anywhere.”
MAV representative Gavin Mahoney spoke about the mechanics of standing for election to Local Government, setting out eligibility criteria and the dates by which nominations and other information must be received.
Among the changes to eligibility are that candidates cannot have been convicted of an offence which carries a penalty of two years or more in jail, they can’t be an undischarged bankrupt and they must have their own name on the Local Government electoral role of the municipality for which they are considering standing.
Key dates: Roll closes on August 26, nominations are open from September 15 to 20 (12 noon) and voting packs are sent out on Tuesday, October 4.
Voting is by postal vote only and completed ballot papers must be received by 6pm on Friday, October 21. Counting starts on Saturday, October 22.
Due to changes in Australia Post arrangements, postal ballot may be received until Friday, October 28, so it could be that the results in the election will not be known until the beginning of November.