McLean slate - Ararat Rural City councillor elected

ARARAT - The hard work has only just begun for first time Ararat Rural City councillor elect Glenda McLean.

Mrs McLean has been successful in her bid to occupy the seat made vacant by former mayor Ian Wilson in last weekend's by-election.

"I look forward to the contribution I can make..." - Glenda McLean

She said she was delighted with the result - a vote of confidence in her ability to do the job by the people of the municipality.

"I want to pay tribute to a woman from Elmhurst, 83-year-old widow Irene Ramsay who rang me to ask what I stood for during the campaign," she said.

"She wasn't negative about council instead her focus was on the positive impacts council has already made and improvements it could make."

Mrs McLean said Mrs Ramsay had told her she wanted a local representative that had a view that took in to consideration the concerns of people in addition to those of Ararat.

"I look forward to the contribution I can make and working on the community action plans will be an important first step," she said.

"I perceive these as a vehicle to show those outside Ararat can trust they are being looked after."

Ararat Rural City is unsubdivided and includes the towns of Pomonal, Elmhurst, Moyston, Ararat, Warrak, Buangor, Maroona, Willaura, Mininera, Wickliffe, Lake Bolac, Westmere and Streatham.

In the absence of an absolute majority (3,515 votes) on the first count, preference allocation handed Mrs McLean the position.

On the first count Mrs Mclean polled 2,640 first preference votes, narrowly ahead of Lake Bolac's Franz Deutsch with 2,514.

Remaining candidate Bill Braithwaite received 1,874 votes, before, as the first excluded candidate, his votes were divided and transferred on a second count.

As a result 1,275 of those votes were delivered to Mrs McLean, the remaining 599 to Mr Deutsch.

Mrs McLean the declared winner with 3,915 votes after preferences ahead of Mr Deutsch on 3,113.

A total of 7,028 formal first preference votes were polled at this Ararat Rural City by-election, a further 215 were informal.

Mrs McLean who grew up in Ararat and has a strong background in welfare has worked with the three levels of government.

"I think that's something that is very important, to have that experience on something which I think sometimes people aren't quite sure about the role and place of," she said.

"At least with that background I can take to local government an appropriate approach to the budget," she said.

Mrs McLean was a prolific campaigner who based her election on down to earth conversations with members of the public.

She submerged herself in the feel and vibe of the municipality with her attendance of local community events.

"I really tried to talk to people and present a clear message they understood and accepted," she said.

Mrs McLean had four main messages she communicated to people once she announced her candidacy.

"Number one was that Ararat needs to have a viable pool, and by that I mean viable," she said.

"Number two to provide practical support for small businesses and farmers.

"Number three maintain services for our senior citizens, inparticular aged and palliative care.

"Number four to understand and work with the community to learn more about the rates situation."

Councillor elect McLean joins six existing councillors Gwenda Allgood, Ian Harris, Paul Hooper, Fay Hull, Gary Hull and Colin McKenzie.

The by-election is the second in the last eight months, coming in quick succession of Mayor, Cr Paul Hooper's election to council last June as a result of a by-election held following the resignation of Murray Woods in March last year.

Mrs McLean will get her first taste of the atmosphere among council when she is sworn in at Ararat Rural City's monthly meeting tonight.

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