Mayor to run again next term

By Thomas Moir

Kim O’Keeffe has announced she would like another year as City of Greater Shepparton’s mayor.

And she may be the only councillor putting their hand up for the role when it is up for re-election next month.

The first-term councillor who was first-past-the-post at the 2016 election has announced she would like to be re-elected to the role, saying another year would leverage steps forward.

Meanwhile, Seema Abdullah has indicated she is unlikely to seek another year as the city’s deputy, saying she would like to see other councillors offered the opportunity.

Victoria’s state election is not the only one in Shepparton during November; Next month the mayor and deputy mayoral positions will be voted on by councillors, both positions expected to be elected for one-year terms.

But the city’s mayor has added her voice to the call for two-year mayoral terms being embraced going forward.

Cr O’Keeffe said she had informed her fellow councillors of her wish to be re-elected next month.

The News contacted all city councillors during the past fortnight.

Crs Bruce Giovanetti, Dennis Patterson and Fern Summer said they would not be putting their hands up for either position, while Cr Les Oroszvary said he was yet to decide on the matter.

Councillors said they would wait to see who nominated for either position, hear arguments from candidates and discuss ideas before publicly backing candidates.

Cr O’Keeffe was the only confirmed candidate for next month’s mayoral role from those who responded to The News.

She was elected as mayor last November in a vote that went down to the wire.

‘‘The first year, you learn the position, build on important relationships, lobbying...’’

Cr O’Keeffe said she had become comfortable in the role, that another year as mayor would help build on skills, advocacy and relationships forged.

‘‘I want to continue (that),’’ she said.

‘‘I had a great year, think I certainly would be the right person (to continue).’’

The mayor said she believed one-year mayoral terms were ‘‘too short.’’

‘‘I think it does need a two-year term... there’s a fair bit of learning at the beginning,’’ she said.

Asked this week whether she would recontest the role of deputy mayor, Cr Abdullah said, ‘‘at this stage I’m not going to put up my hand’’.

‘‘I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

‘‘I have a feeling there might be other councillors interested in it... there should be an opportunity for them as well.

‘‘I’m happy for them to give it a go.’’

She said she had enjoyed a ‘‘fantastic one year as deputy’’ adding ‘‘all elements of this role I have enjoyed thoroughly’’.

Asked whether she had considered running for mayor, Cr Abdullah said ‘‘not this year,’’ but renewed her aspirations for the position, saying ‘‘I do aspire at some stage’’.

‘‘I’m very pleased to see how Kim has taken up role, with energy and hard work.’’