ARARAT Police Station commander Damian Ferrari is Pyrenees Shire Council’s newest councillor.
Cr Ferrari will fill the vacancy left by the late Michael O’Connor in the council’s Beaufort ward.
Mr O’Connor died unexpectedly in May, after serving as a councillor and three-time mayor since first being elected to council in 2008.
Cr Ferrari won a council by-election for the seat with more than half of the first-preference vote.
Fellow nominees Barbara Blamey and Julie Kendall received 33 per cent and 16 per cent of the vote respectively.
Cr Ferrari, who was born in Beaufort but now lives at Mount Cole, said he ran for council to give something back to his home-town community.
He said he was unsure what to expect with the election results.
“You run the campaign and try to get your message out there, and hope people will like what you stand for and vote for you,” he said.
“I'm looking forward to working with the mayor and other councillors and the shire in general and achieving some good things.”
Cr Ferrari took the oath of office to become a councillor at a special meeting in Beaufort on Tuesday night.
He said he believed his role in the police force would hold him in good stead on council.
“In the role I currently do, you are publicly known, so I think that helps and gives people the confidence to speak to or approach you,” he said.
“There's also some similarities with the way we do business here and how council does business in governance and compliance.”
During his election campaign, Cr Ferrari nominated the Beaufort bypass, business growth, youth issues, roads and tourism among the shire’s most important issues and projects.
He said the bypass – which is in the planning stages – was his highest priority.
VicRoads is completing an Environmental Effects Statement for the project, and hopes to release the document for public comment by the end of the year.
“The bypass will affect the town and we need to get that right,” Cr Ferrari said.
“One of the other first things I'll need to do is get settled in and learn the processes and procedures of council.
“It's also important to keep out and about and listen to the community.
“I thank the people in the Beaufort ward for voting for me and giving me this opportunity, and I look forward to achieving good things in the ward.”