BEGA Valley Shire councillors on Friday performed their first duty electing Bill Taylor as mayor and Russell Fitzpatrick as deputy.
In accepting the position, Mayor Taylor who has held the position of deputy mayor in a previous council, thanked the councillors for showing confidence in him.
Mayor Taylor served as deputy from 2002 to 2004 and was on council from 2002 to 2008.
“I would like to see the community come together cohesively as a shire, so we can get rid of this nonsense that permeates the community, not the council, about a north-south division or a division between town and village or urban and rural,” mayor Taylor said.
“We are all one, let’s work together.”
He also said the last couple of weeks had been uncomfortable for him with all the lobbying between councillors, which was almost as bad as the pre-poll in the actual council election.
Councillors at Friday’s extraordinary meeting also voted to move regular council meetings to Wednesdays.
Councillor Michael Britten said Wednesday was more convenient for some of the new councillors including the youngest new councillor Kristy McBain, who brought her young baby Max to the meeting.
Councillor Liz Seckold meanwhile argued against the change saying councillors had organised their other commitments around Tuesdays.
The mayoral selection process started out with a debate amongst councillors over whether their vote should be open with a show of hands or whether it should be a secret ballot system.
Four councillors were nominated for mayor being incumbent mayor Tony Allen, Michael Britten, Keith Hughes and Bill Taylor.
Councillor Keith Hughes arguing at length that the process should be transparent, that the community had a right to know the vote and that eventually the councillors would work out who supported who.
But councillor Michael Britten encouraged the secret vote saying the councillors should be free to vote how they wanted.
But other than a second for councillor Hughes’ motion by councillor Liz Seckold, the remaining seven were in favour of a secret ballot.
Another vote taken on whether it should be preferential or direct secret voting, with councillors ultimately chose the preferential system.
When the votes were tallied, general manager Peter Tegart read out that the votes were three each to councillors Tony Allen and Michael Britten, with two votes to Bill Taylor and one to Keith Hughes.
Councillor Hughes was eliminated and when his votes were preferenced it ending up being a three-way tie with three votes each.
The ballots of the three remaining nominees were then placed in a box, with Mr Tegart drawing out councillor Britten’s ballot who distributed his preferences to councillor Taylor.
That resulted on Bill Taylor getting five votes and Tony Allen four votes.
Councillors then turned their attention to the selection of deputy mayor, this time choosing an open show of hands to vote with councillors selecting Russell Fitzpatrick.
Councillor Fitzpatrick in accepting the position said he would also to see the council be more “harmonious” and that some difficult times were ahead with limited finances available.