|Incoming mayor Ben Shaw addressing|
tonight's ceremonial meeting.
General manager Greg Winton opened the proceedings at 6pm and said the gathering was not a formal council meeting but a ceremonial swearing-in of new councillors as required by the Local Government Act.
Seven of the eight incoming councillors were present, with Mr Winton explaining that re-elected councillor Anne Salt was an apology and had been privately sworn-in earlier in the week. This was a sequel to earlier this year when Mrs Salt completed her declaration as a new councillor behind closed doors after being elected to the council on a recount and was unable to attend her first scheduled meeting.
The ceremonial meeting was the first of its kind for this council, which in the past has sworn-in its new members at a regular monthly meeting. The event was attended by a number of family members and friends of the newly elected members.
"Essentially this process is required under the Local Government Act," Mr Winton said. "The individuals that you see before you tonight are accepting the responsibilities that come with being a councillor and they do so with little recognition and little recompense," he said.
"They do so in order to try to improve this municipality and move forward, and for me, ceremonies such as this are an important reminder of the beginning of that process," Mr Winton said. He then invited each candidate to step forward in the order in which they were elected, with the exception of the deputy mayor and mayor who were sworn in last.
Most candidates spoke about their ambitions for the next four years, congratulated their fellow councillors on their election, and commiserated with the unsuccessful candidates and defeated councillors. There were also a number of comments about the need to work together to for the benefit of the municipality, to advance the various proposals and projects already in place, and to implement the council's new strategic plan.
Cr Cosgrove spoke about her pride in being elected as the council's first female deputy mayor. Cr Shaw, as the council's youngest mayor, spoke about the great working relationship enjoyed by the previous council and said he looked forward to working with the new group. "This is what I was hoping for in terms of a new, fresh council; a council that is very diverse in its age, experience and background," Cr Shaw said. "So I really think this is a fantastic council to move this community forward."
|The new councillors after tonight's meeting. Back from left: Rachel Power,|
Martyn Evans, Luke Browning, Paul Belcher; front: Julie Triffett, Ben Shaw
and Jessica Cosgrove.