Kellie O’Callaghan new Latrobe City mayor

Newly elected Latrobe City mayor Kellie O'Callaghan. file photograph

Michelle Slater

Latrobe City councillor Kellie O’Callaghan has just been voted-in as the newly-elected mayor and Cr Dan Clancey was elected as deputy mayor at tonight’s special council meeting.

Cr O’Callaghan fended off a challenge from Cr Graeme Middlemiss with the support from crs Brad Law, Dan Clancey, Tracie Lund and outgoing deputy mayor Darren Howe.

New deputy mayor Cr Clancey won the vote against Cr Melissa Ferguson.

Cr O’Callaghan will serve as Latrobe City mayor for the next 12 months, and will take over from outgoing mayor Cr Sharon Gibson.

The new mayor pointed out the importance of inclusive and transparent leadership in her nomination speech.

“We need a space for dialogue that welcomes diversity, is non-judgemental and is safe, not only for our community, but for our councillors, stakeholders, the organisation and Latrobe City staff and leadership team,” Cr O’Callaghan said.

“We have an obligation to ensure our leadership is accountable and this will ensure procedural fairness. We will need to commit to upholding that standard.”

Cr Middlemiss described himself as a “unity candidate” in his mayoral nomination speech, pitching a process for councillors and staff to resolve issues before they hit the chamber.

“I’m not with any block, but I believe we need somebody who will pull us back towards working together,” Cr Middlemiss said.

“In the democratic process there will always be differences of opinion, but we must not allow these differences of opinion to become major issues, and still get on with life.”

Cr Gibson listed the highlights of the past 12 months, including establishing a Latrobe transition taskforce, working with state and federal MPs and her community champions section in The Express.

Cr Gibson stated challenges including the ministerial approval a new used lead acid battery recycling plant in Hazelwood North, COVID and storms and floods in the municipality.

“I’m really heartened about how people came together in this community in such trying times,” Cr Gibson said.