NEW TEAM: Central Highlands Regional Council mayor and councillors elected in 2020. Back (from left to right): Cr Charles Brimblecombe, Cr Natalie Curtis, Deputy Mayor Christine Rolfe, Cr Janice Moriarty, Cr Anne Carpenter. Front (from left to right): Cr Megan Daniels, Mayor Kerry Hayes, Cr Joseph Burns, Cr Gai Sypher.
NEW TEAM: Central Highlands Regional Council mayor and councillors elected in 2020. Back (from left to right): Cr Charles Brimblecombe, Cr Natalie Curtis, Deputy Mayor Christine Rolfe, Cr Janice Moriarty, Cr Anne Carpenter. Front (from left to right): Cr Megan Daniels, Mayor Kerry Hayes, Cr Joseph Burns, Cr Gai Sypher.

Election of deputy mayor kicks off first council meeting

A DEPUTY mayor was elected and all new councillors were in attendance for what was a very unusual post-election meeting in the Central Highlands.

Central Highlands Regional Council CEO Scott Mason welcomed and congratulated Mayor Kerry Hayes, returning unopposed for his second term, and new and returning councillors.

With a strict no handshake policy, councillors Janice Moriarty, Joseph Burns, Natalie Curtis, Anne Carpenter, Megan Daniels, Christine Rolfe, Gai Sypher, Charlie Brimblecombe took their oath and were presented their declarations.

Mr Hayes presented each of the elected with a quick air-hug and air-handshake to abide by social distancing requirements.

“I look forward to each of the new and returning councillors bringing their knowledge, experience and aspirations to the table of the people,” he said.

“My hope is that, at the end of this term, we can look back over the four years with great pride and know that we did the very best for the people of this region.”

The council meeting was held from 11am today and was live streamed to the Central Highlands Regional Council website.

Unlike other meetings, councillors sat alone in council chambers, with only six members of the public allowed to sit in due to social distancing requirements.

Another four members of the public would be allowed to sit just outside the room until coronavirus social distancing requirements ceased.

With former deputy mayor Gail Godwin-Smith stepping away from council this year, the position was up for grabs.

Ms Sypher and Ms Rolfe were both nominated for the role, however after a quick ballot was taken, Mr Mason declared Ms Rolfe the successful candidate.

Mayor Hayes congratulated Ms Rolfe on her appointment and thanked second candidate Ms Gai Sypher.

“It’s reassuring that we have strong people in our group who will all have the opportunity to be leaders to our community,” he said.

“Both candidate Cr Sypher and appointed Deputy Mayor Cr Rolfe bring a lot of experience and knowledge to our council.”

Council then discussed its ongoing meeting schedule and appointments to external and internal boards and committees.

Councillors suggested the general council meeting be moved from 2pm on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month to 9am on Wednesdays.

Council will make details available via its website in due course.

Mr Hayes closed the meeting saying he was looking forward to the next four years and mentioned the councillors would officially celebrate with friends, family and colleagues “at an appropriate time”.