Councillors for the new Northern Grampians Shire Council held their first statutory meeting for the 2020-24 term and elected a mayor for the upcoming year.
Attending councillors took an oath/affirmation of office and declared they will abide by the Councillor Code of Conduct to work for the positive improvement of the Northern Grampians Shire community during their term as councillors.
Councillors Lauren Dempsey, Tony Driscoll, Kevin Erwin, and Rob Haswell elected Murray Emerson as mayor of the Northern Grampians Shire Council.
The mayor was elected by an absolute majority among the attending councillors.
Cr Rob Haswell nominated Cr Emerson while Cr Tony Driscoll seconded the nomination. No other nominations were put forward.
Cr Murray Emerson said he is looking forward to working with the new council as mayor to “make Northern Grampians Shire an even better place to live, work, and play.”
“It is a pleasure and privilege to be put in the mayoral position for the Northern Grampians Shire and I appreciate the opportunity,” he said.
“None of us envisioned at this time last year we would be dealing with a pandemic called COVID-19. While we should have been attending to other things, they have been put on the back burner for a short time, but I think we are starting to come towards what we can call COVID-Normal which will allow us to put time back into representing our communities, providing services, and getting things done that the community are looking for.
“A lot of things have changed with COVID; people’s lives became disrupted, our budget had to change to help people in need, the whole thing from this time last year changed completely but now we are heading in the right direction.
“It’s been a very challenging year but I am proud to say all my fellow councillors offered great support. Any time I needed help they did it with no qualms. The same is true for Liana and her staff, the working relationship between councillors and staff has been magnificent and made a very difficult time a little less difficult.
“I also extend a special welcome to our new councillor Lauren Dempsey, I believe she will do a great job. We’ve watched her involvement in many community programs and her involvement with young citizen council initiatives and we are pleased to have her on board.”
Cr Lauren Dempsey said she is thrilled to be welcomed onto council and is ready to hit the ground running.
“I want to thank the community for the support they have given me and the warm welcome I’ve received here,” she said.
“I am really looking forward to listening to and working closely with the community to build that all-important trust between citizens and their council. I’m here to provide a voice for them and I can’t wait to get started.”
Other attending councillors offered their congratulations to Cr Emerson for his election as mayor.
“On behalf of the citizens of the Northern Grampians Shire, congratulations to Cr Emerson. You have done a great job getting us through the COVID situation and I believe out of adversity comes opportunity. Under your leadership for the next twelve months I expect we can unearth and exploit some marvelous opportunities,” Cr Tony Driscoll said.
“Speaking about the last 12 months, when you took the job of mayor then, none of us expected the year would be what it was. It has been strange to say the least and COVID is something none of us would have thought was on the cards. You have handled it very well and done a great job and have been well supported by your wife Wendy. Keep up the good work,” Cr Kevin Erwin said.
“Your performance so far, especially given the COVID situation, has been outstanding and I’m looking forward to going forward with you and the rest of us as a team for the next 12 months and the council term. All the best to you and all the best to all of us,” Cr Rob Haswell said.