Councillors will pick Baw Baw Shire’s major and deputy mayor for the next year at a special meeting on Wednesday.
Image: incumbent mayor Joe Gauci considers challenging Milford Meanswell. Photo by author.
The mayor position in Baw Baw is not chosen by public vote, rather by a majority of councillors.
Mayors chair council meetings with a deciding vote in tied motions, and are expected to attend all municipal proceedings held in the region.
Incumbent Joe Gauci has held the position since November 2015, leading Baw Baw both before and after last year’s council elections.
Fellow Warragul ward councillor Mikalea Power is presently deputy mayor title, an optional position often used as a training ground for potential future leaders.
Of course, the deputy mayor plan doesn’t always work out: East Ward (then-Mount Worth Ward) councillor Peter Kostos was deputy when Cr Gauci took the mayor position in 2015 but never progressed to the top job. Likewise, councillor Tricia Jones and former councillor Tony Wolfe have held the position without becoming mayor in the following term.
How will the vote go down?
In the past, Baw Baw’s mayoral elections have been surprisingly boring. Prior to the vote councillors often say they have no idea who will take the position, but votes are usually uncontested and over in a matter of minutes.
A lot is discussed and decided behind the scenes in the interests of the council appearing united.
If Cr Gauci is elected mayor again, he will likely hold the position for the longest period this decade. While it’s not out of the question for Joe to achieve a third term, it is unlikely.
As deputy and one of the council’s longest serving representatives, Cr Power is the most likely to take the position. However, as a social progressive, she might face resistance from more conservative councillors.
Those wanting a leader from outside of Warragul might also oppose her.
But what about the deputy position? All we can say is it probably won’t be occupied by Joe.
More than just the mayor and deputy
Wednesday’s meeting, to be held at the Trafalgar chambers, will see more appointments than just mayor and deputy mayor.
Every year at mayoral election time, councillors are appointed as delegates to advisory committees in Baw Baw and beyond.
Each councillor is usually appointed to several committees, often related to their own interests and/or expertise.
Baw Baw’s advisory committees are community feedback groups largely made up of average citizens and business owners. They cover business, the arts, disability, the environment, roads and drainage, and more.
Councillors are also appointed as representatives to external bodies, including the Gippsland Local Government Network, the Municipal Association of Victoria, and West Gippsland Regional Library’s board.
Who’s your pick?
Who do you think will take the mayor and deputy mayor positions? Let us know in the comments below.
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