By JOHN DOOLEY
SUE Nichols created history in Buronga on Monday when she became the new Wentworth Mayor after a tied vote.
Two names were placed in the hat − Cr Nichols and Deputy Mayor Tim Elstone − to decide the new municipal leader with Cr Nichols adding the NSW role to her CV almost two decades after serving in the same role with Mildura Rural City Council.
To decide the result, the Council’s general manager Ken Ross drew the successful candidate’s name out of a hat in accordance with protocol when the ballot is tied.
The soon to be 80-year-old veteran councillor will be supported in her role by Cr Elstone – who remains as Deputy Mayor.
The need for the election followed the recent sudden resignation of former Mayor Melisa Hederics citing health and personal reasons.
Cr Nichols said she was honoured to be elected as Mayor and would put ratepayers first in everything she and the council did.
Cr Nichols has served in local government for the best part of 30 years and is a former Mayor of Mildura and has also held the role of Deputy Mayor on both Mildura and Wentworth Councils.
“I’ve been drawn out the hat before when I became Mayor of Mildura!” the newly elected Mayor said.
“It is amazing what can be achieved as a councillor, but as an individual I can’t do anything − it’s all about a team effort and it takes a team to make progress.
“You can’t go onto council with your own agenda. You could find yourself with the eight other councillors voting the other way on an issue.”
Cr Nichols said that the staff were the backbone of the council.
“They are our best advertisement and our greatest asset,” she said. “If you have the right staff – you’ve got everything.
“I want to see a number of projects completed and I make the point in council all the time that they need to be on time and on budget.
“I have always been the ‘tight’ person, I want ratepayers to get value for money out of the rates they pay.
“Council doesn’t have any money of their own. We have ratepayers’ money and we have grants − that’s the only money we have and so we need to do the best we can with what we have got.”
Cr Nichols said that she was probably old
est mayor in New South Wales bar one.
“Although the lady in Cobar is older than me and I’ve known her for a lot of years,” she said.
Cr Elstone congratulated Cr Nichols on her victory, wishing her well and assured her that she would have his backing ‘150 per cent’ as her deputy.
“I will work well with Tim as my deputy and I’m looking forward to continuing our good working relationship,” Cr Nichols replied.
Cr Nichols also thanked former Mayor Melisa Hederics for her long service to the Wentworth Shire community as both councillor and mayor.
In 2009, new Victorian legislation prohibited Cr Nichols from serving on two councils and she resigned from Wentworth at the time to continue sitting at the Mildura council table.
Cr Nichols later was again elected to Wentworth Shire after her Mildura term ended.