Greater Shepparton City councillors will tonight make an important decision.
One that will determine who will lead the council as mayor for the next year, at least.
The role of mayor in Greater Shepparton has arguably broadened significantly. While being a face for the city at event launches and facility openings is still clearly part of its general business, strong advocacy has become a key function.
From all reports, two key names are in contention this year: Current mayor Dinny Adem and current deputy mayor Kim O’Keeffe.
Only the latter of these has formerly declared, with the former keeping quiet about his intentions.
After plenty of soul-searching, horse-trading and number-crunching, a decision will be made tonight.
It seems a tight tussle could be imminent: something not always a given in local mayoral elections.
And the visible interest from two clear candidates is welcome, ensuring a decision will predominantly be made on the candidates’ suitability for the role, instead of the councillor with the most time available, or willingness to perform the role, becoming the desired option.
Perhaps the good news is, whichever way the majority of councillors should vote, the city will be held in good stead.
Both have clear strengths they would bring to the head of the council meeting table.
Cr Adem, now mayor for two years, brings experience. He has grown into the position and has performed well in an advocacy role, ensuring Spring St and Canberra have been informed about the city’s funding needs.
If Cr Adem were to be mayor for a further year, it would present more of this.
Cr O’Keeffe brings less experience. But boasts a strong standing in the community, a willingness and enthusiasm to learn and has the potential to become a great leader of the council.
While less prepared for the role, she is arguably more prepared than Cr Adem was when he was first elected mayor two years ago.
She has sat in the deputy chair for a year now, and from all reports thrown herself into the role. She has the clear support of the Shepparton public, which swept her to a convincing victory at last year’s election.
The News feels if councillors gave Cr O’Keeffe their support as mayor, she would grow into the role and ably serve the city.
For Cr Adem to be re-elected would provide continuity and strong ongoing lobbying.
Regardless, whoever is voted mayor tonight deserves the full support of the councillors and council over the coming year.
We wish the best of luck to those vying for the positions.