Two Matts in top jobs

In what was an expected outcome for the Wollondilly deputy mayor role, Matthew Deeth, secured seven of the nine votes for the coveted second top job for the elected term, voted at an extraordinary council meeting on January 18.

Cr Deeth will once again team up with the newly popularly elected mayor, councillor Matt Gould. In the last term of council for a period, Cr Deeth was mayor with Cr Gould as deputy mayor. It was a pairing that worked for both councillors. There was an expectation that the role would have been given to the mayoral candidate that received the second highest count, Judith Hannan. Cr Deeth was fourth placed in the mayoral count.

The mayor moved that the position of deputy mayor be for the complete term of council before an open ballot was held. Crs Deeth and Judith Hannan both put their hands up for the position and spoke about their suitability.

Cr Deeth highlighted the challenges to the shire, “none more so than growth” adding that in the last five years work had been done to manage the impacts.

He said a united team of councillors was needed to get the results, rather than what the “external forces” wanted.

“We have an opportunity here to work collectively and collaboratively in achieving a vision to aspire in what the community wants.”

Cr Deeth said advocacy was the key and was about establishing “relationships…to get an outcome”.

He also took the opportunity to throw out any suggestion that he is part of any political party, but he did stress the importance to engage with all political parties.

“I will continue to advocate for all our community with all parties and or anyone that is willing to listen to me and to all of us, to ensure we get the best possible outcome for our community.”

Cr Hannan who secured the second highest votes for popularly elected mayor, conceded there is “no prize for second place” was motivated to put up her hand for integrity’s sake. She was disappointed that a councillor, who wanted to run for deputy mayor and who she would have voted for, was “talked out” of running.

She believed party politics exists [in council].

“Some say voting for deputy mayor is not mayor, but I believe it’s about leadership…”

“I do believe there is party politics and anybody who says there’s not when councillors or candidates are offered backing and resources… are up in the clouds.”

Cr Hannan said she would abide by the councillors decision and believed they all needed to work as a team “not to have just a mayor and deputy mayor”.

“We are an entire team, not one or two people. I have to consistently stand for my community… what I believe is [that] each and every one of us have our roles.”

Cr Hannan wasn’t optimistic about the result, but was prepared to work with each of the councillors and said she “will only be answerable to the community I represent”.

Crs Deeth, Gould, Blair Briggs, Paul Rogers, Suzy Brandstater, Hilton Gibbs and Michael Banasik voted for Cr Deeth

Crs Judy Hannan and Bev Spearpoint for Cr Hannan.

Cr Briggs confirmed to The District Reporter he had wanted to run for deputy mayor, but when informed of the responsibility of the role – pulled-out.

In the lead-up to the December 2021 local council election, Wollondilly Liberal state MP, Nathaniel Smith, endorsed Matt Deeth for mayor.



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