THE race to become Ballarat’s next mayor is anything but certain after incoming councillor John Burt yesterday launched a bold bid for the position.
Principal of Ballarat Specialist School, Mr Burt’s nomination came as a surprise to council-watchers expecting the mayor to be elected from the three experienced councillors.
Returning councillor Des Hudson is the only other declared candidate, with fellow returning councillors Samantha McIntosh and John Phillips considering nominations.
Mr Burt, a Liberal Party member, said he had not yet canvassed his support among other council members.
“I think what I have done in my professional life puts me in a position to be able to do this job,” he said.
“I am a team player and would hope that when all this has settled down, as a team we can make decisions for the betterment of Ballarat and its residents.”
Incoming North Ward councillor Vicki Coltman yesterday put herself forward for the position of deputy mayor.
“I am standing as part of a succession plan, as ultimately I would like to be mayor,” she said.
“I believe I have a lot to offer as a future leader of the City of Ballarat and I would like gain experience in the governance processes which come as part of council.”
Both candidates are expected to receive the votes of fellow Liberal councillors with Cr Hudson last night conceding he was unlikely to win.
“It was the worst-kept secret throughout the campaign that John Burt and Vicki Coltman would nominate, and I guess it further reinforces the view that party politics will play a role,” he said.
“That is disappointing for Ballarat after 11 years when party politics has not played a role on council.”
The new council’s tenure is off to a controversial start with North Ward councillor Amy Johnson joining the Liberal Partydays after the election despite standing as an independent.
Both Cr McIntosh and Cr Phillips last night called for a private discussion on the position to be held by all members of the council.
Nominations for the position of mayor will close on Thursday, November 8.