Fraser likely to be mayor again

Towong’s Mary Fraser is likely to lead the council for a seventh time.
Towong’s Mary Fraser is likely to lead the council for a seventh time.

MARY Fraser will be looking at her seventh turn as mayor when Towong councillors meet this morning to decide on their civic leader.

The local government veteran may be the only starter in the race.

Cr Fraser’s success would also make it a clean sweep of female mayors across the North East, with only Wodonga Council yet to decide on its leader.

Yesterday former mayor and returning councillor Peter Joyce ruled himself out of the contest.

“I will be nominating Mary Fraser,” he said.

“Work commitments limit my ability to do the job so I have no intention of running at this stage.

“Having been mayor in the past I know the demands on both time and effort if you are to do the job properly.”

Cr Fraser yesterday said she would accept the nomination but said it was far from a “done deal”.

Last week the Tallangatta Valley farmer finished second on first preference votes, only bettered by Granya’s David Wortmann.

By the end of this term Mrs Fraser will have spent 32 years as a councillor — 12 at the Tallangatta Shire in the 1970s and 1980s and 20 years with Towong Council.

“I’ve almost lost count of how many times I have been mayor or shire president — this would make it seven,” she said.

“But I’d love to take it on again.

“I feel as a councillor you have a great opportunity to improve things for everyone — whether that be environmentally, health and wellbeing or dealing with the ever-increasing cost of running local government.

“We now have less than 6000 people in the shire and yet the costs are increasingly falling to council.

“Our challenge is paying for that — the federal and state governments needs to take notice.”

Incoming councillor Aaron Scales also believed Cr Fraser was the likely mayor.

“I’m certainly not putting my hand up,” he said.

“We have had a briefing session and the other councillors were fantastic, explaining everything to me and there is a lot to learn.”

Cr Wortmann and caretaker mayor Debi Gadd did not return The Border Mail’s calls yesterday.