By Rebecca Peppiatt
EMOTIONS ran high at the Shire of Mundaring offices this week when six fresh faces were sworn in as councillors and a new president and deputy were elected to take the lead.
Last Saturday’s local government election produced a new group of representatives of the community in the form of Karen Beale, Trish Cook, Paige McNeil, Luke Ellery, Neridah Zlatnik and Jo Cicchini.
The new cohort officially became councillors at a special meeting on Tuesday evening in front of a packed gallery of past councillors, family members and curious onlookers.
They now join the six remaining councillors; John Daw, Doug Jeans, Simon Cuthbert, Amy Collins, Matthew Corica and James Martin, helping to make the decisions that will affect the region.
It was more out with the old and in with the new as experienced councillor John Daw was voted out as Shire president, in favour of James Martin, who made an emotional speech imploring councillors to choose him as their leader.
“I will be a leader who is inclusive,” he said.
“Your goals and aspirations, your reasons for seeking election in the first place, will be recognised.
“Your aspirations for leadership positions will be encouraged.”
Cr Daw has been the Shire president for four years.
“I bring to the table years of experience as a councillor and Shire president, in leading and representing the community through some challenging times such as the Wooroloo bushfire and North Stoneville,” he said.
But with only four votes, it was clearly decided the direction of the council needed to change and instead put their trust in Cr Martin, a Boya resident, who has been a councillor for six years.
Cr Martin broke down when it was announced he had won the majority vote for the position of president with seven votes out of a possible 12 and said he wanted to “offer an opportunity for a fresh approach to how we are doing business.”
Cr Martin is a former Army commander and holds a Bachelor of Science degree and a double major of mathematics and physics.
Working in finance, he has a keen eye for figures and a passion for focusing on rates.
He will be working alongside new councillor Paige McNeil who received 10 votes to Cr Simon Cuthbert’s one for the role of deputy president.
Cr McNeil said she “wanted to provide council with the option of electing a female on the leadership team”.
“I feel humbled to be elected by my fellow councillors and excited about the opportunity to represent the Shire as deputy president,” she said.
“I am excited to support our newly elected Shire president, James Martin, in propelling the Shire forward and delivering positive outcomes for the community.”
Cr Amy Collins briefly put herself forward for the position of president, before retracting her nomination as she stood to speak, stating she was “too nervous”.
But chief executive Jonathan Throssell stated she was already on the nomination paper and therefore could not withdraw.
She received one vote.
Cr Doug Jeans put himself forward for deputy president before retracting his nomination before the vote.
Council now has a 50/50 split of men and women for the first time in more than 10 years.