THREE of the top vote-getters in the Snowy Valleys Council election have endorsed James Hayes for the job of the shire’s first mayor.
Bruce Wright, who topped the poll with first-preference 1653 votes, on Monday told the Tumut and Adelong Times he thought former Tumut Shire Mayor Hayes was the man for the top job.
John Larter, who came in third with 1008 votes, agrees.
“I support James Hayes for the mayor’s job,” he said.
“He’s deserving of the opportunity with his experience, and as a former Tumut Mayor myself I would support him.”
Mr Larter is not interested in standing for the mayoral job himself, largely due to his work as a paramedic.
Julia Ham, who received an impressive 900 votes, believes she is too new to council to go for the Mayor’s job, and is also in favour of Mr Hayes getting it.
“He would probably be the best choice, because it is important to have such experience, and he polled really well,” she said.
The mayor will be decided by the councilors at the first Snowy Valleys Council meeting, but Mr Hayes isn’t counting his chickens. “Let’s see how the council votes,” he said.
“I’d be interested in the job, but I haven’t spoken to the other candidates yet.
I am encouraged by their support. The mayor will be whoever the councilors are minded to elect.”
Bruce Wright has said he will be available for the Deputy Mayor’s job, and so will Mr Larter, who believes he is more suited to it than the others.
“I appreciate that Bruce has put his hand up and wants to represent Tumbarumba people, but at the end of the day, we need to elect someone to do the job,” he said.
“This first term will be difficult; there is a lot of political business and James and I with our experience are better situated to do that.
“As a former Liberal Party candidate I have a lot of government contacts, and have an excellent relationship with our local members Daryl Maguire and Mike Kelly.”
He believes it is important that the deputy mayor is from Tumut.
“A lot of things happening in the next couple of years are Tumut-centric, like Snowy Hydro 2.0 and Visy, so I don’t agree that we need someone from the other end of the Shire (in the deputy mayor’s position).
Why should we in Tumut miss out? We need a strong voice and if these things are happening in Tumut, then we need to be the people setting the agenda.”
However, Julia Ham believes the Deputy Mayor should be someone from the outlying area.
“Tumbarumba used to have 11 councilors; now it will have two,” she said.
“It is important for it to have a strong voice in the arena.”