Leaders sworn in

IF first impressions count, Warrnambool City Council’s new team should sail through smoother waters than last term. 

Cr Michael Neoh who was the sole nomination for the top job told his six colleagues: “We have four years to make a positive difference — the clock is ticking.”

He said councillors would aim to work as a team, agree to respect each other and agree to differ.

Cr Neoh, 47, who took the oath of office for his third four-year term as councillor, said the elections were a mandate from the community to plan and deliver services at a level expected of a leading regional city.

In the past four years the council had undertaken its biggest-ever capital works program, but there was much more to be done, he said.

“The new council will be custodians of projects that will span more than one term,” said Cr Neoh who has been mayor twice before.

“We will go to work this week looking at our list of goals.

“Aim to achieve the unrealistic.”

He congratulated councillors Jacinta Ermacora, Peter Hulin and Rob Askew who were returned by voters and new councillors Kylie Gaston, Brian Kelson and Peter Sycopoulis. The team declared loyalty and allegiance to Australia, Victoria and the citizens of Warrnambool and expressed appreciation to MPs, community advisory committees and volunteers.

Councillors also committed to international peace and understanding by continuing sister city relationships with Miura, Japan, and Changchun, China.

They also recognised the need to work for the wellbeing of the region through co-operation with neighbouring and regional councils.

After the brief official meeting where all councillors took their oath to serve the community, they mingled with family and friends in a celebratory supper at the adjacent entertainment centre. Their first regular open business meeting will be on November 26.

One of the big challenges in setting a budget for next financial year will be to factor in a $4.8 million bill for a superannuation fund shortfall which is due in July. 

pcollins@standard.fairfax.com.au

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