Race to become City of Greater Bendigo's next mayor takes shape

Mayor Margaret O'Rourke is leaning towards putting her hand up for a second term. Four councillors have ruled themselves out of contention, one is considering it, another is unsure.

Mayor Margaret O'Rourke is leaning towards putting her hand up for a second term. Four councillors have ruled themselves out of contention, one is considering it, another is unsure.

UPDATE: THURSDAY 12PM Mayor Margaret O’Rourke has given the strongest indication yet that she intends to run for a second term as council leader.

While declaring it was still early days, Cr O’Rourke said: “I certainly would be thinking that I will be putting my hand up again.”

However, she said she respected other councillors views, as they will be making the decision. 

Cr O’Rourke proved the most popular candidate in a Bendigo Advertiser online poll, which asked the question: “Who do you think Bendigo’s next mayor should be?”

The Eppalock Ward councillor received  50 per cent – 133 – of the 266 votes, with Cr Rod Fyffe polling 26 per cent, and Cr Yvonne Wrigglesworth 12 per cent. 

A lot of work was still to be done, according to Cr O’Rourke, adding her mayoral role had “certainly opened up my eyes”.

Results of the Bendigo Advertiser mayoral poll.

Results of the Bendigo Advertiser mayoral poll.

Cr O’Rourke’s 12-month term is due to expire in early November and councillors will have a private vote on the most appropriate candidate in the coming months.

Cr Rod Fyffe is “considering” the top job, while Matt Emond and Jennifer Alden were unavailable for comment.

Four councillors ruled themselves out of contention on Monday. 

UPDATE: TUESDAY 10.00AM Deputy mayor Rod Fyffe says he is considering putting his hand up to become Bendigo’s next mayor. 

Four councillors on Monday ruled themselves out of contention for the top job, with incumbent Margaret O’Rourke’s 12-month term due to expire in early November.

Cr Fyffe, Bendigo’s longest-serving current councillor who was the city’s four-time mayor, said: “Certainly I’m considering it (mayor role), we’ll need to work through the dynamics.”  

The former school teacher is Bendigo’s first deputy mayor, with the City of Greater Bendigo introducing the new role in 2016.

Cr Fyffe said it was “a bit far out” for him to confirm or reject his candidacy, suggesting the picture would become clearer in the coming weeks.

Whipstick Ward councillors Andrea Metcalf, Julie Hoskin and James Williams told the Bendigo Advertiser they are not interested in the top job, as has George Flack, representative for the Eppalock Ward. 

MONDAY Four councillors have ruled themselves out of contention to become Bendigo’s next mayor, with incumbent Margaret O’Rourke’s 12-month term due to expire in early November.

Whipstick Ward councillors Andrea Metcalf, Julie Hoskin and James Williams told the Bendigo Advertiser they are not interested in the top job, as has George Flack, representative for the Eppalock Ward. 

Councillor Yvonne Wrigglesworth said it was “still early days”, adding she was enjoying her role in public office and felt she was making a difference.

“If there was an appetite for me to be mayor I would not rule it out,” she said.

Related: Bendigo mayor and deputy named

Cr Flack, who withdrew his mayoral nomination prior to the 2016 council election due to personal reasons, said those existing reasons meant he had no intention to pursue the mayor or deputy-mayor position.

Aside from current mayor Margaret O’Rourke, who is eligible for re-election, Cr Williams was the only councillor to nominate for mayor during the previous election campaign.

He too said he had no appetite to lobby for the position in the coming months.

Councillors O’Rourke, Matt Emond and Jennifer Alden were unavailable for comment.

Related: O’Rourke wins two-horse mayoral race

Councillors will have an internal discussion over which candidate is most appropriate and will likely present the successful individual to the public at a special council meeting in November.

The mayor-elect will be in that position for a matter of weeks before being officially sworn in.

Under the local government act councils can elect a mayor for a two years, however 12-month terms are more commonly practiced in Bendigo.

City of Greater Bendigo chief executive officer Craig Niemann said: “Council may elect a mayor for a period of one or two years. If council wishes to elect a mayor for a period of two years, they must formally resolve to do so.”

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop