By ZAIDA GLIBANOVIC
LATROBE City Council has elected councillor Darren Howe as Mayor for the next year, while Cr Tracie Lund was elected the new Deputy Mayor.
The election took place last week at council’s Monday night meeting.
The newly-elected Mayor said it was a great honour to be elected by his peers.
“I was first elected to council in 2016, representing the East Ward,” Mayor Howe said.
The new Mayor is following in his father’s footsteps.
Trevor Howe was Mayor of Traralgon City Council in the late 1980s.
“It’s an honour to also follow in my late father, Trevor Howe’s footsteps as Mayor, who was elected to the role in 1988 during the days of Traralgon City Council. Connection to our history is just as important as building the future, and I hope to take on board this sentiment into the role,” Mayor Howe said.
“It was dad who started my interest in politics growing up, after having seen his work in local government, I wanted to try it out for myself.”
As a long-standing business owner in the region, Mayor Howe believes a thriving economy will benefit the community.
“I am looking forward to leading council with a focus on employment, investment and increasing prosperity and liveability across Latrobe City,” he said.
As a councillor, Mayor Howe said he was proud of his work on lighting upgrades, new sporting and community facilities, arts projects and the proposal for more car parking, and will now look forward to future projects.
With less than a year to go until the local council elections in October 2024, Mayor Howe is looking forward to leading the elected council into its final official year.
“I hope that we can all work together and really enjoy our last year together and really make some great strides for our community,” he said at the mayoral election meeting.
Mayor Howe recognised the past year’s leadership team and passed on his thanks.
“I would like to acknowledge and thank the outgoing Mayor Cr Kellie O’Callaghan and Deputy Mayor Cr Dan Clancey for their outstanding efforts over the last year,” he said.
“They have been integral in their support of economic transition in our region, including the launch of Our Transition Plan. I’d also like to thank them both for their leadership and advocating for investment that aligns with our community’s aspirations.”
Mayor Howe is looking forward to working with the newly elected Deputy Mayor to help better the community together.
“It’s an enormous privilege to be able to represent Latrobe City as your elected Mayor. I would also like welcome Councillor Tracie Lund as Deputy Mayor,” he said.
“Thank you to my councillor colleagues for putting their confidence in me to lead council for the coming year.
“I look forward to continuing council’s advocacy work and working closely with the community in 2024.”
At the mayoral election Cr Sharon Gibson initially nominated Cr Graeme Middlemiss, who declined. Cr Gibson proceeded to nominate Cr Dale Harriman, with Cr Melissa Ferguson seconding the nomination.
Cr Harriman retained three votes, from himself and Cr’s Gibson and Ferguson, while the rest of council voted on Cr Howe to take the mayoral seat.
“I declare that Cr Howe is elected as Mayor,” Latrobe City Council chief executive, Steven Piasente stated as the councillors applauded the new appointment.
As for the Deputy Mayor election, Cr Lund and Cr Gibson gained nominations. Cr Lund was nominated by Cr Bradley Law, and Cr Gibson was nominated by Cr Harriman.
Voting followed the exact pattern as the mayoral election, with the vast majority voting for Cr Lund.
Outgoing Mayor, Cr Kellie O’Callghan, and the Deputy Mayor, Cr Clancey, were presented with parting gifts at the meeting for their service over the past years.
“The last few years have certainly been significant for our local community. There has been an ongoing level of economic change, structural adjustment, and disruption,” Cr O’Callaghan said.
Cr O’Callghan noted the many changes under her tenure, including major infrastructure projects such as the Gippsland Performing Arts Centre and the Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium.
The outgoing Mayor thanked the council crew, officers, community and support she had during her time as Mayor.