Claire Pontin new MidCoast Mayor

MidCoast Council

Councillor Claire Pontin will be the new Mayor of MidCoast Council until September 2023, following a Mayoral election at today’s Council meeting.

There were three nominations for the position of Mayor – Cr Peter Epov, Cr Claire Pontin and Cr Kathryn Bell.

After a vote by a show of hands, Cr Pontin was elected with seven of the eleven votes.

This is Cr Pontin’s first term as Mayor and second term as a MidCoast Councillor. She was first elected to MidCoast Council in 2017 and served as Deputy Mayor.

Cr Pontin welcomed the opportunity to represent Council and undertake the other duties of Mayor.

“I’m incredibly honoured and humbled to be elected as Mayor. I don’t accept the role lightly,” Mayor Pontin said.

“I’m keen to effect some changes that I see as important and I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few weeks talking to Councillors to get a better view of their priorities and concerns for MidCoast Council, and to encourage a collaborative and progressive approach.

“I am looking forward to working with them all to achieve some tangible benefits for the people of MidCoast.

“We have some challenges ahead and we need to respond effectively to them. I’m hopeful we can introduce some new processes to improve our consultations, communication, accountability, and responsiveness to the community.

“One of my key priorities is to build better linkages with the various business sectors. Without thriving businesses, the community as a whole suffers.

“The mayor’s role is one of strategic oversight and leadership and I want to be accessible for the community, to listen and better understand the majority views, so we can better focus our resources to achieve the outcomes the community want to see.”

The Deputy Mayor is Councillor Alan Tickle who will also hold the position until September 2023. The other nominee for the position was Cr Kathryn Bell.

Cr Tickle, who received seven votes for the role of Deputy Mayor, is serving his first term on MidCoast Council. He previously served on Greater Taree City Council.

Cr Tickle said that he had lengthy discussions with Cr Pontin on the need to mould a team of Councillors who maintain a strategic focus and work collaboratively.

“It was apparent that the majority support was there for Cr Pontin which was a telling factor for me in my decision not to contend the position of Mayor at this time but I am honoured that the Council voted for me in the support role of Deputy Mayor.

“The saying ‘there is no I in team’ means that all Councillors need to move forward, respect the decision on leadership, listen to the views of colleagues and not lose sight of what the community expect of us and the trust that is vested in the elected body,” Cr Tickle said.

The new Councillors will serve a reduced term of two years and eight months as a result of the 2020 election being rescheduled.

The meeting also determined Councillor representatives to various committees for the following 12 months as follows:

  • Hunter Joint Organisation – Mayor Claire Pontin
  • Mid North Weight of Loads Group – no councillor
  • Arts Mid North Coast – Cr Jeremy Miller
  • Bushfire Management Committee – Cr Alan Tickle/ alternate Cr Paul Sandliands
  • NSW RFS District Liaison Committee – Cr Paul Sandilands/ alternate Cr Alan Tickle
  • NSW Public Libraries Association – Cr David West/ alternate Cr Dheera Smith
  • Hunter Regional Weeds Committee – Cr Dheera Smith/ alternate Cr Katheryn Smith
  • Joint Regional Planning Panel – Cr David West and Cr Alan Tickle/ alternate Cr Kathryn Bell
  • Local Traffic Committee – Cr Troy Fowler/ alternate Cr Peter Howard
  • Manning Valley Liquor Consultative Committee – Cr Troy Fowler/ alternate Cr Jeremy Miller
  • Stroud Heritage Conservation Inc – Cr Paul Sandilands
  • Duralie Coal Mine Community Consultative Committee – Cr Katheryn Smith and Mayor Claire Pontin
  • Stratford Coal Mine Community Consultative Committee – Cr Katheryn Smith/ alternate Mayor Claire Pontin
  • Gloucester Exploration Project Community Consultative – Cr Katheryn Smith
  • Association of Mining and Energy Related Councils – Cr Katheryn Smith

The meeting also confirmed Mayor Pontin, Crs Tickle, Miller, Sandilands and Dheera Smith will attend the Local Government NSW Special Conference, to be held from 28 February to 2 March.

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