Riverine Herald

Pankhurst’s putting his hand up for mayor’s job

By Tyla Harrington

AT LEAST two people have nominated for the position of Campaspe Shire mayor ahead of the election next Tuesday.

While current mayor Adrian Weston was announced mayor elect on Monday and he is expected to return to the top seat, there is a chance the official vote could spell the end to his tenure.

Because two other councillors, Kyabram Deakin ward Cr Neil Pankhurst and Echuca ward Cr Daniel Mackrell, are eyeing his position.

Despite the initial defeat when council held its ‘‘meeting local law’’ on Monday, which saw all three nominate for the mayoral position and eventually announced Cr Weston as the mayor elect, Cr Pankhurst said he would be re-nominating.

‘‘I believe that I have things to offer from a governance point of view,’’ Cr Pankhurst said.

‘‘Adrian’s had a couple of years in the position and there’s certainly room for improvement and I believe I offer an opportunity for that improvement.’’

If successful, Cr Pankhurst said he would focus on ‘‘getting things back on track’’.

‘‘(Including) building the rapport within council and getting the relationships between council and the organisation back to a better level,’’ he said.

When asked what wasn’t on track, Cr Pankhurst, who was mayor in 2011, said: ‘‘The way the council is functioning with the organisation.’’

But Cr Weston, a Waranga Ward councillor who has served the past two terms as Campaspe Shire’s mayor, said his council was in a ‘‘reasonable place’’.

‘‘As with all relationships, can the relationships always be better? Absolutely,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s something that you work on all the time. And it is something I have been mindful of right from the outset. It’s about trying to balance the at times different views and aspirations. It’s seeking to balance the diversity amongst the councillors in particular and ensuring that diversity is used in a positive way.

‘‘Part of that is having good relationships where there needs to be a high level of comfort for everyone to express their views and I think generally we have been pretty good at that.’’

Cr Weston welcomed debate at Tuesday’s statutory meeting.

‘‘I think that’s a good thing — it’s open and transparent which is in itself good governance,’’ he said.

‘‘I am comfortable and happy with whatever councillors decide to do.’’

While Cr Mackrell said he did not receive a vote at the assembly of councillors on Monday he said that would not stop him from standing again.

‘‘Some of the public had asked me to stand so I did but it just goes to show it’s not the people who elect you, it’s the councillors,’’ he said.

Cr Mackrell said he would be nominating ‘‘at this stage’’ for deputy mayor but added that he was also still interested in the mayoral position.

On Monday it was Kyabram Deakin Ward Cr Vicki Neele who was successful in nominating to the deputy mayor position for a second term after Cr Mackrell said he withdrew his nomination.

Both positions will be formally considered by council at 5pm next Tuesday.