THE first decision of the new Ballarat City Council will be to elect a mayor.
With six new and three returning councillors, all eyes will be on the experienced trio of Des Hudson, Samantha McIntosh and John Philips to put their hand up.
Cr Hudson said he would nominate for the position but both Cr McIntosh and Cr Philips were keeping their cards close to their chests at yesterday’s vote declaration at Ballarat Town Hall.
Cr Peter Innes, who has previously served several years in both Buninyong Shire and Ballarat City Council before a four-year break, also virtually ruled out a tilt at the top job.
“Probably not,” Cr Innes said.
“There are nine councillors who will choose the next mayor.
“We just need to get community respect back into decision making.”
Melbourne has been able to vote for its mayor since 2001 and this year overwhelmingly returned the highly popular former Liberal Party leader Robert Doyle.
Cr Doyle scored a massive 40 per cent of the vote.
Geelong directly elected its mayor for the first time this election, with hardware store owner Keith Fagg set to take the top job.
So, if the Ballarat community could elect its own mayor from the new council, who would it be?
A poll on The Courier’s website shows Cr McIntosh is the people’s choice, with 22.8 per cent of the vote, though Greens councillor Belinda Coates was the early poll leader.
By 9pm yesterday, Cr Amy Johnson had polled 19.6 per cent of the vote.
And Cr Des Hudson had polled 18.7 per cent.
Cr Coates said she would consider taking on the mayoral role if the opportunity came up, but realistically it would be unlikely.
“It’s a big ask,” she admitted.
“I would certainly consider it; I wouldn’t rule it out because I want to hit the ground running.
“I’d be prepared to do it if asked.
“I’m certainly across the council strategies and plans.”
New councillors John Burt and Vicki Coltman said they would give a lot of thought to who they wanted to be the next mayor.
“The challenge now people have been elected is first of all to get to know each other,” Cr Burt said.
“We will then work through who is going to lead the team.”
Cr Coltman said she had a few people in mind for the job.
“I’ll be sitting down with them and having a chat,” she said.
“But it’s a group decision.”
Mayoral nominations will close on Thursday, November 8.