THE national obsession with trying to pick a winner has again taken hold in the corridors and partitioned offices of power at Mornington Peninsula Shire Council.
As with this time last year, bets are again being placed and favourites backed in what’s known as the mayoral dance.
Favourite for the top job (which becomes vacant in November) is incumbent mayor Cr Anthony Marsh but, in a twist on previous years, it seems those inside the council headquarters also fancy that his “partner”, or deputy mayor, will also see a return of Cr Lisa Dixon.
If the 2:1 favourites are first across the finish it would be the first time in the history of local government on the Mornington Peninsula that a mayor and deputy have been returned for consecutive terms.
The mayoral race is mostly a Melbourne Cup-style “two bob each way” amusement for council staff but offers a $100,000 plus prize for the ultimate winner and a $60,000 allowance for the deputy mayor.
Following closely behind the Marsh-Dixon duo this year are Crs Sarah Race and Kerri McCafferty, currently showing at 3:1.
Crs Steve Holland and Debra Mar are the outsiders at 5:1.
Looking back 12 months, the 11-member council was virtually led by an aligned group of six councillors.
However, that group is rumoured to be now evenly split, handing power (and much sought after votes) to the previous five outsiders.
The next mayor will also be elected in the wake of the council’s poor showing in a public opinion poll (“Shire hits ‘all time’ low in satisfaction” The News 4/10/22).