Latrobe City Mayor Sandy Kam has taken a short leave of absence due to sudden and unexpected personal reasons.
At Monday night’s council meeting council resolved Deputy Mayor Sharon Gibson would be appointed as acting mayor until after Friday, 20 September.
A council spokesperson said the arrangements would not have any impact on council business and all ordinary meetings and activities of council would proceed as usual.
Council to stay home
Latrobe City Council will decline an invitation to a China International Cities Cooperation Forum sent by a its sister city Taizhou.
During Monday night’s council meeting, council voted to turn down the invitation it received on 6 August for the event, which starts on 5 September, because of the short notice and lack of benefits to Latrobe City. Acting Mayor Sharon Gibson said council could not justify the expense of sending representatives to ratepayers.
“If we go anywhere using ratepayers’ money we want to line up business opportunities to ensure there are benefits for Latrobe City,” Cr Gibson said.
Speaking on the subject at the meeting, Councillor Dale Harriman suggested Latrobe City obtain a list of upcoming events from Taizhou and ask them to highlight the events it deemed most significant.
A council officer’s report stated the theme of the forum was “changing growth model, adjusting economic structure and pursuing further development”.
Latrobe City has encouraged young musicians to apply for a place in the Latrobe City Concert Band, which will travel to China in May.
Between 30 and 35 musicians aged 15 and 21 years will be selected to represent Latrobe City at its Sister City Taizhou’s 60th anniversary celebrations and possibly the opening of the Australian Garden in Taizhou.
Acting Mayor Sharon Gibson said the Music Exchange Program was a great opportunity youths should “grasp with both hands”.
“If they are really committed to the program they’ll obtain the benefits. You can grow so much as a person, as well as setting you up for any future music career you may have,” Cr Gibson said.
Cr Gibson said the motivation behind sending young people on this journey was to broaden their understanding of different cultures.
“When you go overseas and are immersed in a different culture it can only help you,” she said. She said more information on applications and auditions would be available in the next few weeks and interested persons can phone Latrobe City Council on 1300 367 700.