THERE will be at least four new faces on the 11-seat Mornington Peninsula Shire Council after next month’s municipal election.
Three councillors have now stated that they will not seek re-election and the fourth seat up for grabs has been vacant since the May resignation of Watson ward’s Lynne Bowden, who was first elected in 2008.
Councillors who have come out in public to say they are not standing are Anne Shaw and Andrew Dixon of Briars ward and David Gibb (Seawinds).
Cr Bowden’s resignation was too close to the 22 October poll to require a by-election so her seat has remained vacant, with the mayor, Cr Graham Pittock, providing a councillor contact for ratepayers.
Those who have indicated they will stand are David Garnock (Cerberus), Hugh Fraser (Nepean) and Antonella Celi (Seawinds).
Yet to let residents know are Tim Wood (Red Hill), Bev Colomb (Briars) and Tim Rodgers (Red Hill).
With five seats up for grabs, candidates are already actively being sought by pressure groups, including ratepayer organisations and at least one political party, the Greens, which is fielding five candidates in four wards.
The changes among the shire’s elected representatives will also see a shift in the power structure as Crs Gibb, Shaw and Dixon have tended to vote in unison on major issues, the most recent being the councillors’ expenses policy and a code of conduct.
These new policies adopted with the backing of the three retiring councillors will not come into force until after they are no longer on the council.
David Gill, a former shire president and councillor with the Shire of Mornington and a regular critic of the current council is seeking election in Red Hill.
Also chasing the Red Hill prize is Esther Gleixner, whose daughter Carolyn unsuccessfuly stood for the state seat of Nepean (2014) and federal seat of Flinders (2016) for the Labor Party.
Cr Dixon said his decision to not seek re-election was “the right call for the right reasons”. His four years representing Briars ward have cost him some friends, led to depression as well as being rewarding. Cr Dixon writes about his time on council, “Four years of dark days and achievements”.
He said he wrote the article “to let prospective candidates know what to expect, to encourage and prepare those willing to have a crack so they’re more prepared than I was, and to give people some idea of what the role’s really like”.
Cr Shaw said that after more than 13 years on council she would like some younger councillors.
“I was 42 when I first ran for council and it’s important there is a broad demographic representation,” Cr Shaw said.
“It’s important to have people actively involved in daily life and understanding the issues that families face on a day to day basis.
“I have always intended this would be my last term of council – I exceeded my 10 year rule – but my passion for the peninsula will continue and I will always be actively involved in the community as I was prior to being a councillor.”
Cr Shaw said she had started a new business venture “which is very exciting and I’ll look forward to putting energy into that and, just maybe, I’ll get to have a holiday.” Letters