Mayoral elections 2017: Councillors coy on top job

VOTE: From top left; Crs Daniel Moloney, Amy Johnson, Jim Rinaldi, Des Hudson, Samantha McIntosh, Mark Harris, Belinda Coates, Ben Taylor and Grant Tillett.

VOTE: From top left; Crs Daniel Moloney, Amy Johnson, Jim Rinaldi, Des Hudson, Samantha McIntosh, Mark Harris, Belinda Coates, Ben Taylor and Grant Tillett.

Ballarat City councillors have remained coy about who they will back in upcoming mayoral elections.

A special meeting of council on October 30 will determine who takes the top job for the next 12 months.

Current mayor Samantha McIntosh was elected during a council vote in November, 2016, following the local government elections.

Cr Mark Harris was elected deputy mayor at the same meeting.

Four councillors – Jim Rinaldi, Grant Tillett, Ben Taylor and Des Hudson – ruled out nominating for either the mayor or deputy mayor roles.

Meanwhile Crs Daniel Moloney and Amy Johnson will consider nominating for the deputy position.

Cr Belinda Coates said she was still considering if she wanted to nominate, while Crs Harris and McIntosh did respond to repeated requests for comment.

So far no councillor has confirmed to The Courier if they will be nominating themselves for the position, nor who they would vote for on October 30.

Two councillors said they expected Cr McIntosh to nominate once more for the top job.

“I would expect Samantha to renominate,” Cr Tillett said.

“She has been a very able mayor in my opinion.”

“I would want to see the field before I place my bet however – there are several who might put their name up – but nobody has approached me.

“It is a young person’s responsibility, there are lots of things to do and you do need to be able to scout around the place and get the job done – I’d sooner sit behind the scenes and do my best work in that context.”

Cr Des Hudson also backed the likelihood of Cr McIntosh renominating.

“I’d be surprised if she didn’t renominate for the position,” he said.

“I have not been involved in any lobbying by anyone who is looking to crunch numbers. I would imagine there are a number of conversations happening.”

There was only one nomination each for the deputy mayor and mayor positions when a vote was taken in November last year.

Crs McIntosh and Harris ran unopposed at the time for their respective roles as mayor and deputy.

Cr Moloney said he would only nominate for the deputy-mayor this year if he had support of his fellow councillors.

“A year into a new role, I am keen to do more, especially lobbying for better infrastructure,” he said.

“We are going to have a massive amount of construction in the CBD.

“We have two or three seats that are fairly marginal ahead of the state government elections, with new candidates.

“There is an opportunity for council to get out their with what it is trying to achieve with its plans.”

Cr Taylor said he thought there were multiple people on council capable of being the mayor.

“I think that shows the calibre of people we have got,” he said.