MADAME Mayor Lorraine Brunt said in her speech at the Special (Statutory Meeting) for the election of Mayor held on Wednesday November 15 at Council Chambers that she commits herself to the role with energy, pride, fairness, commitment and above all integrity.
“I take this opportunity to thank our previous Mayor and Deputy Mayor Councillors Ray Argento and Maxine Kiel for an outstanding fulfillment of their roles under adversity and some challenging times.
“Ray Argento showed enormous resolve to make the Council work.”
Cr Brunt was up against Cr Andrew McEwen, who said in his speech that he believed he had the experience, capability and desire to work collaboratively and inclusively for change with all councillors for the benefit of the community.
“I have a proven ability to deliver outcomes, to work closely with communities and prefer to work collaboratively,” he said.
When it was put to the vote Crs Rich and Hill agreed with him however Crs Edwards, Skinner, Brown and Argento voted with Cr Lorraine Brunt.
Cr Ray Argento read from a speech he wrote before he became Mayor where he said he would be approachable and give councillors the chance to express their opinions. He said he would work with the CEO and staff and not have an attitude of them and us.
“I have made myself available and have promoted the region over the last 12 months.
“South Gippsland is the place to be,” he said.
Cr Maxine Kiel then gave a powerful speech saying that she felt a Deputy Mayor’s role is important to support the Mayor.
“Ray’s very amenable demeanour has been an asset for this Council.”
She said she felt privileged to have held the position and to have formed a productive working relationship with Cr Argento.
“This has been a year full of change. Last year I stood here and said that I would be the loud voice in Council to represent the community. I have, however, been the quiet voice. I have sat back and listened and learnt and now realise that I do not know, what I do not know.
“There has been so much to learn, read and understand. Being a community person, I feel a little frustrated with the procedures involved in getting things done within the Council meeting structure”.
She went on to say how the lack of respect of some for fellow councillors and staff was embarrassing.
“The constant belittling, denigrating and ridiculing of other Councillors must cease. I am ashamed that I have not stood up sooner to defend those Councillors on the receiving end of this bullying and ridicule. It makes me wonder why we have a Code of Conduct that we all signed this time last year,” Cr Kiel said.
It was then time to select the deputy Mayor.
Cr McEwen put himself forward and Cr Argento nominated Cr Brown.
“I get on well with all my fellow councillors,” Aaron said.
“It is a very important role and I will be constructive and coherent.”
Cr Brown was then declared deputy Mayor with 5 votes to 4 for Cr McEwen.
Crs Argento, Kiel and McEwen conveyed their congratulations to Mayor Lorraine Brunt and Deputy Mayor Aaron Brown.