A briefing held on the eve of the vote for Ballarat's mayor proved decisive in Cr Daniel Moloney's bid for the job, The Courier has learned.
Earlier this week, three councillors had confirmed they would be nominating for the role - Crs Mark Harris, Daniel Moloney and Ben Taylor - the latter of whom had been in the position for the previous 12 months.
During the Tuesday meeting, held behind closed doors, nominations for both the mayor and the deputy mayor positions were discussed. Both roles are decided between councillors.
It became clear Cr Moloney would have the 'absolute majority' required under new local government act with five councillors supporting his nomination.
As well as Cr Moloney himself, Crs Belinda Coates, Peter Eddy, Des Hudson and Samantha McIntosh backed his nomination.
Known as one of the more progressive councillors, Cr Moloney would have counted on the support of Cr Coates, the lone Greens representative on council.
While Crs Moloney and Hudson are both Labor party members, Cr Hudson said his backing for any fellow party member was "not welded on" and the outcome should not be seen as going along party lines.
He told The Courier he thought all three candidates were equipped to do the role.
I have not said to anyone outside of the council chamber who I voted for. One of the things I think the community is a little frustrated with is the political machinations of councilPeter Eddy, councillor
"I said in the run-up I will exercise my judgement and vote for who I think will be the best mayor."
"I feel a bit for Ben, because I thought he had done an exceptional job in the circumstances in the last 12 months," he said.
"I would have been equally as happy if Cr Taylor had been the mayor for the next 12 months as well."
While Cr McIntosh and Cr Taylor are both Liberal Party members, their mutual antipathy is well known. Her decision to support Cr Moloney is unlikely to surprise council observers.
Cr Eddy would not confirm who he supported when directly asked.
"I have not said to anyone outside of the council chamber who I voted for," Cr Eddy said. "I haven't even told my wife who I voted for. One of the things I think the community is a little frustrated with is the political machinations of council.
"I am reluctant to go into that other than to say I think Daniel will be a very good mayor. I was really impressed with the breadth of areas he covered in his speech."
"Ben Taylor was an excellent candidate as well. It showed me the city has a lot of capacity for the future."
The Courier understands that Amy Johnson and incoming South Ward councillor Tracey Hargreaves supported Cr Taylor's bid for a second successive year as mayor, with Cr Harris the only person to back his own nomination.
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For the official vote, which under local government law needs to take place publicly, Cr Taylor had withdrawn his nomination, leaving just Crs Moloney and Harris standing. Cr Harris withdrew on the night leaving Cr Moloney to be voted in unopposed.
A similar situation played out for the role of deputy mayor, with Cr Coates withdrawing her own nomination, leaving Cr Johnson to be elected to the position unanimously.
The Wednesday vote, in which all nine councillors were also sworn in, was the first official public meeting since the Ballarat election results were declared last Friday. Seven incumbents were returned with two new councillors voted in.
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