BALLARAT could get its first mayor who is also a new councillor since the 1995 council amalgamations.
If elected, councillor John Burt would probably be the second mayor in Ballarat’s history who is new to local government, after the very first mayor Mathew Campbell in 1863.
But the Municipal Association of Victoria’s chief executive officer Rob Spence yesterday said it was not unique.
“It can work quite successfully, particularly if the person has already got their head around meeting processes,” Mr Spence said. “It helps if they are good at public speaking too. It’s not a great problem if they learn very quickly.”
Cr Burt, who has recently renewed his contract as Ballarat Specialist School principal, has said he is experienced at dealing with bureaucracy and all the different levels of government.
He was also one of several councillors who campaigned on reviewing senior council officer contracts, particularly that of chief executive officer Anthony Schinck.
However, Mr Spence warned it would be a “complicated and expensive” process to terminate a CEO’s contract.
“Now that the council has been elected, I hope things settle down a bit and give people time to think things through and not just have a kneejerk reaction.
“It is critical that the council has a close working relationship with the CEO, particularly if the mayor is not experienced in local government.”
Former mayor Craig Fletcher said the position was extremely challenging.
“It requires strong commitment and strong capabilities in the person who does become mayor,” Mr Fletcher said.
“I ran my own (surveying) business and was mayor at the same time. You have to devote time to the role and ensure you continue to get great outcomes for the city.”
Returning councillor Des Hudson has also put his hand up for the job, while fellow experienced councillors Samantha McIntosh and John Philips are considering their options.
Cr Belinda Coates has also said it was highly unlikely she would be asked to do the role, but would consider it.
Cr Vicki Coltman plans to nominate for deputy mayor.
The meeting to decide on the mayor will be held on November 13.