IN A diplomatic and unanimous fashion, Cr Pamela Rothfield was elected Mayor of the Bass Coast Shire at a council meeting on Wednesday, November 16.
Cr Brett Tessari is her deputy for the next 12 months.
Cr Tessari nominated Cr Rothfield for the position of Mayor; a decision which was supported by all councillors.
In turn, Cr Tessari was nominated for the position of Deputy Mayor by Cr Steve Fullarton.
Moments after her election as Mayor, Cr Rothfield took her position next to CEO Paul Buckley to chair the meeting, and to make her first statement as mayor.
“I think we’ve all got our L Plates on here as a new council, but are looking forward to the next four years working together,” Cr Rothfield said.
“I think that we’ll all be leaning on Cr Le Serve a bit in the short term, considering her experience in the past as Mayor, and value her input.”
Cr Rothfield also thanked the previous council for their work in the community over the past four years.
“No matter what happened in the past, or what transpired, I think that we’ve got to understand their commitment to the community for those four years, and be thankful for their efforts.”
When asked whether she had the time to dedicate to being the Mayor, Cr Rothfield was quick to reply.
“I do, I certainly do.
“The councillors all had discussions regarding who would be willing to put their hand up for the position of mayor.”
Cr Rothfield congratulated her deputy, Cr Tessari.
“I’m absolutely chuffed in the choice of Deputy Mayor. I just love Brett!”
Cr Tessari said he was looking forward to supporting Cr Rothfield.
“This is a massive honour, and I’m now just looking forward to getting into the community and representing my ward. That’s what I’ve been most looking forward to since I was elected to council.”
Between the two of them, the new Mayor and Deputy Mayor cover the Bunurong ward and the Island Ward, which Cr Rothfield said is important in providing sufficient representation across the community.
“I am looking forward to the challenge of being Mayor for the next year. Working together, I think we can forge ahead. We all need cohesion in moving forward.”

First Bass meeting cut short

THE drive for ‘efficiencies’ at the Bass Coast Shire Council hit a new high last Wednesday, November 16 when the council bowled over its mayoral election meeting in record time.
Not only was there only one candidate for mayor, Cr Pam Rothfield, and one candidate for deputy mayor, Cr Brett Tessari, therefore requiring no speeches and no vote, but also the usual business of a Special Statutory Meeting was also cut short.
As self-appointed council watchdog, Maurice Schinkel, noted while the brief meeting was still in progress, very little of what transpired at the last statutory meeting in November 2012 remained.
The only items of business were (a.) Apologies and (b.) Reports Requiring Council Decision – Election of Mayor and Election of Deputy Mayor.
In 2012, the results from the election were tabled as well as a copy of the Oaths of Office.
Councillor and Mayoral allowances were set and the provision of resources for councillors, travel policy and IT policy was also tabled together with a list of delegated powers to the CEO.
In past years, the appointments to key committees was also settled, as it was at the South Gippsland Shire Council’s special meeting earlier in the day.
But not at Bass Coast. No time has yet been set aside for the appointments to committees such as the CEO Review Committee, except the appointment to the West Gippsland Regional Library Corporation Board, which will be decided at next Wednesday’s council meeting.
It left the shire without a designated representative to attend the Gippsland Regional Assembly meeting in Moe, the following day, to be addressed by Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford.
Ultimately the new mayor, Cr Rothfield attended but few if any councillors were aware the event was even on.

Bass council takes oath again

THE nine new Bass Coast Shire Councillors were forced to take the oath of office a second time last Wednesday, November 16 after doubts were raised about the oath they took at their official swearing in on November 4.
According to the shire, the wording of the oath was checked with the Office of Local Government before the original oath was taken but the advice proved to be incorrect, or something changed between the advice and the paperwork.
The problem was highlighted by shire watchdog Maurice Schinkel at the November 4 meeting but whether or not they recited the correct oath this time is unknown
… as the second ceremony was carried out behind closed doors.
Mr Schinkel said he was pleased the shire addressed the anomalies but noted, if the matter had been allowed to fester for three months, the whole council could have been thrown out and successful candidates ruled ineligible to stand next time.