BEV Colomb is the new mayor of Mornington Peninsula Shire.
It is Cr Colomb’s second mayoral term as she was “first among equals” in 2007-08.
She replaces Cr Antonella Celi of Seawinds Ward. Cr Graham Pittock, also of Seawinds, was elected deputy mayor.
One of three Briars Ward councillors, Cr Colomb is the 19th mayor since the “super” shire was formed from Mornington, Hastings and Flinders shires in late 1994 (three Kennett government-appointed commissioners ran the municipality until councillors were first elected in 1997).
The shire has had five women mayors – Judith Graley in 2000-01 (now state Labor MP), Anne Shaw in 2004 and 2008-09, Bev Colomb 2007-08 and 2014-15, Lynne Bowden 2012-13 and Antonella Celi 2013-14. (Cr Shaw served a shortened term in 2004 as the state government altered the election cycle.)
Cr Colomb’s election means the shire has had three women mayors in a row, unusual in Victoria.
She was elected at the shire’s annual general meeting on Monday 10 November, with Briars Ward colleague Andrew Dixon the only other candidate. Cr Dixon voted for himself and received votes from Crs Anne Shaw and David Garnock.
Cr Colomb grew up in Mornington, and was elected to represent the town in November 2005 when she narrowly defeated sitting councillor John Trantino. Mornington Ward was folded into the larger, three-councillor Briars Ward in early 2012, joining Balcombe Ward (Mt Martha) and Mt Eliza Ward.
The new mayor has been a business owner, was executive officer of Mornington Community Contact House, and has recently been teaching governance at Frankston TAFE.
In her acceptance speech, Cr Colomb said the council had “an opportunity to look at everything freshly”. This was taken as an oblique reference to the departure last Friday of long-time CEO Michael Kennedy, who has had his contract paid out. Dr Kennedy’s contract expires in February next year.
Cr Colomb said “as a team we will be able to rise to the challenges and opportunities the next 12 months bring”.
“I look forward to working with all of you – community leaders, councillors, officers and all levels of government – to provide an environment that allows protection of all that we hold important and also gives us best practise to ensure the health and wellbeing of the peninsula for many years to come.
“We are preparing our own peninsula planning statement to be endorsed by the state government showing that the peninsula is near Melbourne but, importantly, not part of it.
“Having taught volunteers, young adults and many students involved in the development of our community, I am very aware of the needs and aspirations of our diverse population.
“One of my main aims as a councillor is to assist and support, where and when needed, anyone wishing to help others or protect that which we all hold dear.
“After many years of working in the community sector I am concerned about the lack of employment and education opportunities offered on the peninsula for both older and younger generations.
“We have a terrific community on our peninsula. To me our community’s participation is our greatest asset and our commitment will be to work with you all.”
Cr Colomb invited residents to contact her to “share information or discuss issues”.
“For general enquiries, assistance, appointments and invitations, call Councillor Support on 5950 1428. To contact me, call 5977 0612, mobile 0418 506 638 or email email@example.com.”