THE mayor’s job at Berrigan Shire has gone from its oldest councillor to its youngest.
Matthew Hannan, 42, has taken the helm of the southern Riverina council from Bernard Curtin, 78, who has stood down after four years as mayor.
At an election at Wednesday’s meeting, Cr Hannan contested the mayoralty with Denis Glanville and after they tied four-all his name was drawn out by a retired mayor Fred Cuthbert.
Incidentally Cr Hannan had been on the wrong side of a draw for mayor in 2012 when Cr Curtin scored the top role.
“I’ve served two terms now, I’m ready to take on more responsibility – I feel it’s the right time to have a go at being the mayor,” Cr Hannan said.
“I also feel my age puts me in touch with a lot more people in the shire and gives me a handle on different demographics.”
Cr Hannan, a married father of three, has been a teacher’s aide assisting with autistic children at Finley Public School for the last 13 years.
He became a paraplegic in 1997 after falling from a tree but says “I’ve never looked at myself as disabled”.
Priorities for Cr Hannan as mayor include boosting tourism and fostering events and new activities to draw visitors.
He paid tribute to Cr Curtin, who opted to stand aside after being hospitalised in Albury with a bleeding ulcer.
“I just felt that I had done four years and I thought the new appointment was for two years and I wasn’t feeling 100 per cent,” Cr Curtin said.
“I made up my mind the day before that I wasn’t going to stand.”
Cr Curtin cited the shire’s success in fighting off a proposed council merger as the highlight of his time in charge.
Daryll Morris was elected unopposed as deputy mayor resulting in both new leaders hailing from Finley.
Both Cr Morris and Cr Hannan said the shire’s other towns, Barooga, Berrigan and Tocumwal, won’t be neglected by them.
“It’s not about one particular town, that’s a big part of my belief there’s four towns in the shire and each should be treated equally,” Cr Morris said.
Meanwhile, Greater Hume Council has opted for no-change in its leader.
Heather Wilton was returned to the mayoralty unopposed at a meeting on Wednesday.
It means she will have saved six years in the position at the end of her new two-year term.
Former Henty Machinery Field Days boss Doug Meyer was also returned as deputy mayor, but he had to fight off a challenge from past leader Denise Osborne.
Cr Wilton said she was “very happy” to remain mayor and her focus would include solving B-double access at the Grubben Road grain terminal north of Henty and tackling road damage.
“The next big challenge is going to be all this roadwork we’re going to have to look at and how we’re going to fund it; with all this wet weather the roads are deteriorating before our eyes,” she said.