New Tweed Mayor Gary Bagnall asks for support not criticism
UPDATE, Friday 8.30am:
COUNCILLOR Gary Bagnall was elected as the new Tweed Shire Mayor on Thursday night.
Here's an extract of his victory speech delivered to the council chamber after the vote:
"I wish to recommit myself before you this evening to serving the people of the Tweed in the best ability that I have," Cr Bagnall said.
"I'm a person of vision, drive and enthusiasm and I'm determined to lead this council in achieving the aspirations of our community…
The residents have made it very clear through the community strategic plan survey that they value the natural environment as the shire's greatest asset.
The Fed Government has also nominated the Tweed as one of Australia's great iconic landscapes so we have a special duty as councillors to protect this area not only for the people of this shire, but of the whole nation.
There are significant challenges in reversing the decline of our numerous threatened species and there is an over-whelming imperative from our community to save our iconic koalas from the brink of extinction.
There are also major social challenges we face in the shire in supporting the above average number of elderly and our disadvantaged, but we have a wonderful, creative and resilient community who cares about them.
I intend to work with the business community to promote a vibrant economy responsive to the community's needs.
And lastly but most important I hope to lead this council on a path to sustainability to embrace our responsibilities in the climate change, our greatest challenge facing us in the future.
May I encourage the residents of the Tweed to work with us, and share with us your concerns and ideas for improvement and not work against us.
We are there as your representatives.
Offer affirmation and encouragement and not criticism.
We are there to make this a better place for all."
UPDATE, Thursday 5pm: Tweed Shire Council has a new mayor after Cr Gary Bagnall was elected 4-3.
But the deputy mayoralty didn't go quite to script, with conservative Cr Phil Youngblutt getting up 4-3 over Cr Michael Armstrong thanks to the vote of former Mayor Barry Longland
Cr Longland, the mayor for three years, did not stand for re-election.
ORIGINAL STORY, Thursday 1.41pm: COUNCILLORS Gary Bagnall and Warren Polglase are the only two confirmed starters for the Tweed Shire Council mayoralty race.
The annual vote for mayor and deputy mayor will be staged at Thursday night's extraordinary council meeting.
Incumbent Mayor Barry Longland has declined to reveal whether he would stand again for the job, telling TDN late last week that he would continue to talk to colleagues in coming days "about what is best for the year ahead".
Cr Longland has held the job for three years, but it appears two members of his dominant faction, Michael Armstrong and Katie Milne, have shifted their support to Murwillumbah cafe owner Cr Bagnall.
If Cr Longland votes along his usual lines, Cr Bagnall will take the top job.
Cr Warren Polglase is likely to only attract the backing of his fellow conservatives Crs Carolyn Byrne and Phil Youngblutt, which will leave him one vote short of a majority.
The Tweed is one of only two Northern Rivers councils in which residents don't get to directly elect their mayor.
The meeting kicks off at 4.45pm at the Murwillumbah Civic Centre.
Live updates will be provided direct from the meeting.