Queanbeyan’s first new mayor in 14 years to be elected next week | The Canberra Times

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The new Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council will meet on Wednesday to vote for its mayor and deputy mayor, with Queanbeyanite native Kenrick Winchester in the top job box. His most likely rivals, Labor’s Bryce Wilson and the only other returning councillor, the independent Michele Biscotti, said they would not contest the role. It is a new era as former mayor Tim Overall, who was first elected in 2008, did not run in last month’s municipal elections. If elected, Mr. Winchester would be only the third mayor of Queanbeyan in 30 years, with Mr. Overall holding the top position for 13 years after his predecessor Frank Pangallo was mayor for 17 years. The newly elected councilor, Mr Wilson, has meanwhile also been announced as a Labor candidate for Monaro’s state seat. He said he plans to remain on the council if elected to the state parliament. Wilson said he would vote for Mr. Winchester as mayor. “Kenrick has my support,” he said. Mr Winchester, 38, said it would be a huge honor and responsibility to become mayor, but he didn’t take anything for granted until Wednesday’s election. Mr Winchester, a father of three who manages federal government contracts for SG Fleet, is a Labor Party member but has sat on the council as an independent since 2017. He said there was no arrangement to elect the Labor Party in council decisions. “I promise no one,” said Mr Winchester. “I will work with the guys who are the Labor councilors, but also the Liberal councilors and the Independents. It doesn’t matter left or right, we all have to work together.” Because of our political leanings, we are more aligned with what we see is important, but that doesn’t guarantee anything. I hope that in this council we will have much more of a consensus and I think we will, based on the information about the candidates. “We all agree on the most important things we need to do.” Mr Winchester said the first priority for the new council was a forensic examination of the finances to avoid a major rate hike for residents. Council employees have recommended rate hikes of nearly 30 percent over the next three years to cover mounting debt, but Mr Winchester said he hoped to find another way, including austerity measures. “Raising rates just seems like the easy option,” he said. Mr Wilson said the first council meeting would also vote to decide whether a vacancy could be filled during the term through a countdown mechanism rather than a by-election. In that case, if Mr Wilson Monaro won and decided to leave the council, he said the fourth person on the Labor ticket, Maimiti Brook, from Sutton, would take his position on the council. Mr Biscotti said he was too busy with his full-time job to also consider the mayoral position. Greens councilor Katrina Willis declined to say who she would vote for, but said “it was valuable to have someone with experience in the role” as nine of the 11 councilors were new. She wanted to learn more about the council’s mechanisms and would later consider running for deputy mayor. Labour’s Esma Livermore has also been touted as the new Deputy Mayor. The full council is: Katrina Willis (Greens), Kenrick Winchester (Independent), Louis Burton (Liberal), Bryce Wilson (Labour), Esma Livermore (Labour), Jacqueline Ternooth (Liberal), Mareeta Grundy (Independent), Steve Taskovski ( Independent), Edwina Webster (Independent), Michele Biscotti (Independent) and John Preston (Labour). Our journalists work hard to provide local, current news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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