All council hands on deck

ALL Wodonga’s councillors — apart from the mayor — will share the duties of deputy mayor on the city’s new-look council.

“This council believes it is better to share the role and that is a fair call,” mayor Mark Byatt said yesterday.

Cr Byatt was endorsed on Wednesday night as the right man for the top job, taking him into a fifth year as mayor.

There are three former mayors among the six councillors who will share the deputy’s role.

“This council will use the expertise, experience and resource that sits around the table where it is appropriate,” Cr Byatt said.

A former mayor, Cr John Watson, who was re-elected last month, said sharing the role was a vote of confidence.

“We elected there would be no deputy,” he said.

“We have vast experience and even Eric Kerr is good on his feet.

“We should all be able to step up to the plate when required — to run a meeting or represent the mayor.

“Mark is the right man for mayor — there are things in the pipeline and we do need continuity.”

Newly elected Cr Mike Fraser endorsed Cr Byatt but said the issue was likely to be debated again in a year’s time.

“Mark is the right person for now — the right person to lead the transition and continue his work at a national level,” Cr Fraser said.

Cr Byatt is on the Country Fire Authority board and is chairman of Regional Cities Victoria and Regional Capitals Australia.

He is also a member of the Municipal Association of Victoria superannuation taskforce.

And last month Nationals leader Peter Ryan named him chairman of Regional Development Australia’s Hume committee.

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