New councillors to be named on April 1

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New councillors to be named on April 1

Point of view: Cr Lorraine Brunt addresses South Gippsland Shire Council on Wednesday.

TWO new councillors will be named for South Gippsland Shire Council on Monday, April 1.

Countback procedures to fill two extraordinary vacancies in South Gippsland Shire Council will take place following the resignation of Councillor James Fawcett from Tarwin Valley Ward and Councillor Lorraine Brunt from Strzelecki Ward.

The countbacks will take place in the Council Chambers, Meeting Room 1, Michael Place, Leongatha. The Tarwin Valley Ward countback will be held at 10.30am while the Strzelecki Ward countback will be held at 11.30am.

As Cr Fawcett was elected via a countback to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Councillor Meg Edwards, the vacancy for Tarwin Valley Ward will be filled by a countback of Ms Edwards’ votes from the 2016 South Gippsland Shire Council election.

The vacancy for Strzelecki Ward will be filled by a countback of the vacating councillor’s votes from the 2016 South Gippsland Shire Council election.

“The votes will be distributed to the remaining eligible unsuccessful candidates from the 2016 election, according to voters’ preferences. The candidates who gain more than 50% of the countback votes will be elected,” returning officer Charmaine Morel said.

Scrutineers and interested parties may attend and observe the countbacks. The result will be published online at vec.vic.gov.au and also in local newspapers.

Cr Brunt announced her resignation from council yesterday evening, effective April 1, 2019.
Earlier yesterday, Cr Fawcett resigned, also effective April 1, 2019.
Crs Meg Edwards and Maxine Kiel resigned in 2018.
This is Cr Brunt’s statement: “Following a great deal of consideration I have decided that my position of Councillor with the South Gippsland Shire Council is no longer productive for myself or the community I serve.
“With the appointment of Jim Fawcett and Rosemary Cousin in November 2018, I thought that an opportunity existed for our councillors to recalibrate with a positive outcome.
“Cr Fawcett’s resignation tendered today echos the sentiments of the previous two councillors who have resigned. All three have referenced how difficult it is to work positively with this group. The difficulties that they mention I understand and have experienced and witnessed.
“I have done my best to provide leadership in difficult circumstances for councillors, my ward and the wider municipality, especially last year in my term as mayor.
“It has now become apparent that I am not being given an equal voice and the lack of good governance that exists is of great concern to me. 
“I am especially concerned with the self-interest decision making that does not have the community’s best interest at heart.
“It is with deep (sic) following six years’ service on council,I announce my decision to resign effective from 01-04-2019.”

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