Bathurst Regional Council: Deputy mayoral election on Wednesday night

TEAMWORK: Deputy mayor Bobby Bourke and mayor Graeme Hanger after they were elected to the positions last September.
TEAMWORK: Deputy mayor Bobby Bourke and mayor Graeme Hanger after they were elected to the positions last September.

COUNCILLOR Bobby Bourke looks set to be returned unopposed as deputy mayor at this week’s Bathurst Regional Council monthly meeting.

Cr Bourke, a 14-year veteran on council, became deputy mayor for the first time last year as part of a deal that returned Graeme Hanger as mayor.

It was a fitting reward for Cr Bourke who topped the popular vote at the full council elections last September.

He said at the time that he would give himself a year in the job before assessing his performance.

Twelve months on, though, there appears to be no push to remove him and Cr Bourke said he would be happy to fill the role again.

“I’ve already submitted my nomination and while there hasn’t been a lot of discussion, a few of my colleagues have indicated they’re going to vote for me,” he said.

“I might be the only one running but it’s still open for anyone to run against me if they wish.”

Cr Bourke said he had enjoyed the added responsibility that came with being deputy mayor.

“I’ve only chaired the meeting on a couple of occasion so I feel like I’m still doing my apprenticeship. I think they’re still a bit worried about what I might do,” he said.

“But being deputy mayor has given me the opportunity to speak to a lot more people and opened a few more doors.

“I feel like I’ve done a good job for someone who has not done it before.”

The Western Advocate has spoken to a number of councillors who also indicated Wednesday’s vote was likely to be a one-horse race.

Cr Monica Morse said she would not contest the deputy mayoralty this year but would consider he options in 2019 – the last vote before full council elections in 2020.

“I really would like to put my hand up in the final year [of the current council term] because I would like to think there is a woman setting an example in politics,” she said.

A change to the Local Government Act in 2017 means that mayors are now elected to a two-year term, meaning Cr Hanger’s position will not be declared vacant next week.

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