Golden Plains Shire will operate without a deputy mayor for at least the next 12 months, as the council moves to tighten spending.
Councillors on Tuesday night voted to appoint Cr Brett Cunningham for a second consecutive term as mayor, but left the deputy’s role vacant following the expiration of term of Cr Gavin Gamble.
Cr Gamble opposed the motion, which was put by former mayor Cr Owen Sharkey.
Cr Sharkey told the meeting that “sound financial management” was paramount in “these challenging times.”
“The elimination of the Deputy Mayor’s position would result in substantial cost savings associated with allowances and administrative expenses,” Cr Sharkey said.
“(It will) encourage a more collaborative approach to leadership – all councillors will have the opportunity to contribute to the decision making process, fostering a sense of shared responsibility.”
The motion was carried 4-3.
The move is expected to save the shire around $20,000 over the course of one year.
There is no requirement under the Victorian Local Government Act for councils to appoint a deputy mayor.
Cr Cunningham said the council would continue to deliver 70 individual services and “continue to work hard to invest in the health and wellbeing of our community.”
“I also make the pledge as I did during my Council Election campaign to continue to implement a professional style of leadership that holds not only myself but fellow Councillors accountable for our actions and behaviours,” he said in a statement on the shire website.
“This leadership pledge extends to not only our community but also within our Council organisation where we will continue to assist with implementing a positive workplace environment.”