Moyne Shire councillors have voted to amend the council's governance rules for mayoral elections after a tied vote in November 2021 sparked confusion about the process.
Cr Jim Doukas threw the November election into turmoil when he refused to vote for either Cr Damian Gleeson or Cr Jordan Lockett, leaving the two candidates tied at three votes apiece.
At the time, Moyne Shire chief executive Bill Millard believed the governance rules allowed the deadlock to be broken by drawing lots - essentially pulling pieces of paper out of a hat - citing subclause 8.5.
"If two or more candidates have an equality of votes and one of them must be declared defeated under subclause (8.4), the declaration must be determined by lot."
Cr James Purcell contested Mr Millard's interpretation, citing subclause 8.7, which stated if there were only two remaining candidates and neither received "an absolute majority" of votes, "the election fails".
The November meeting had to be paused so council could seek legal advice on the matter, with the lawyer saying Cr Purcell was correct and the use of lots could only be used if there were more than two candidates remaining.
The rewritten governance rules simply change the phrase "two or more" in subclause 8.5 to "more than two, and say the drawing of lots can only be used if "two or more candidates have equal fewest votes".
The rule change doesn't stop a failed election occurring again in future, because the winner still requires four votes to succeed, even if not all councillors choose to vote.
In voting for the rule change, Cr Lockett, whose mayoral dreams were put on hold by the November debacle, joked it was "a shame to see rock, paper, scissors wasn't added" to the list of tie-break options.
Councillors also voted to appoint economic development and planning director Brett Davis acting CEO after Mr Millard announced his retirement.
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