Yesterday afternoon a new Tweed Shire Council Mayor, Councillor Chris Cherry (Independent), and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Reece Byrne (Labor) were elected.
The position of Mayor came down to a vote between Councillors Chris Cherry and Warren Polglase (National/Independent) and was won by five votes to two by Ms Cherry. Mayor Cherry will remain in position until the next elections that are now due in 2021 due to the extension of the council’s term by a year as a result of COVID-19.
‘It was an incredible honour to be elected by my fellow Councillors last night into this role,’ Mayor Cherry told Echonetdaily.
In her acceptance speech yesterday afternoon following the election she said, ‘I would like to thank Mayor Katie Milne for the last five years as Mayor and for her support for me to take on this role. Under her leadership our Shire has established a strong sustainable reputation protecting the things that attract us all to this region; our world heritage environment and relaxed lifestyle.
‘Her dedication to the community and nature has made her a very popular Mayor and I credit her with the stability our Shire has enjoyed this last term and it is certainly a tough act to follow.
‘I congratulate Deputy Reece Byrnes on his new role and look forward to working closely with him.
‘My vision as Mayor is for our community to be proud of their Council, for the way we stand up for them, for the way we defend their rights and for the way we look after this land.
‘As seven councillors we each represent different views within the community, but what we all have in common is the desire to do our best for the people. We may not always agree, but we respect each others views and as Mayor, I will work to find the common ground wherever that can be found.’
Speaking to Echonetdaily Deputy Mayor Byrne expressed his gratitude to all the Tweed Shire Councillors who elected him unanimously to the role.
‘I’m very honoured and privileged that I can now serve in that role,’ he said.
‘I’d like to thank Katie for her service five years and she will continue to offer a lot as a councillor in her representation of the community. People and the community are always first in her heart.
‘I’d to congratulation Chris on coming to the role and look forward to working with her as her deputy.
‘My focus is going be on the immediate path ahead of rebuilding and recovering following COVID-19; that is the role for all of council for a while.’
Mayoral vote: councillor or popular?
Addressing the issue raised by fellow Tweed Councillor James Owner (Liberal) of how the Mayor and Deputy Mayor are elected at the Tweed Shire Council Mayor Cherry noted that, ‘if we had the same system as Byron Shire, with the popularly elected Mayor then Katie Milne would still be Mayor as she topped the polls so I thank her for this opportunity.
‘Katie has been an incredible mentor, she is not afraid to go in to bat for her community on issues important to them and I credit her last five years of leadership with the stability our Shire has enjoyed.’