Tributes flow after death of Ballina's first female mayor
THE first female mayor of Ballina Shire, Diane Brennan -- a woman who has been remembered for wanting more transparency for council -- has passed away.
Her death was announced on the Facebook page, Blast From Ballina's Past, by Jacquelynne Vagne.
She served on Ballina Shire Council from 1980 until 1999.
She was deputy president from 1983 until 1984, and again from 1988 until 1992, before becoming the deputy mayor from 1993-94.
Ms Brennan was the mayor from 1994 until 1997.
Ballina Shire's current mayor, Cr David Wright, supported Ms Brennan's election to mayor simply because, at the time, "she was the best person for the job" and he served as her deputy.
"She was a very strong person who believed in lots of the things I believed in so we got on very well," he said.
He said Ms Brennan pushed for council to employ a communications officer one day per week, an idea which was not supported at the time.
"She wanted to be much more open with everything," he said.
"She wanted to let people know what was happening."
Cr Wright said council worked very differently back then to what it does today.
He said if council wanted to do a project, "we just did it", taking the advice from staff and many of the nuts and bolts thrashed out in committees.
He said Ms Brennan pushed for more community consultation.
"She was a very strong-willed and wanted more openness," he said.
Cr Wright said many Ms Brennan was a strong supporter of the airport, and the growth of the Southern Cross Industrial Estate, along with land developments.
But he said she had "good attitudes and she was not there for anything else but for the shire."
Today, Ballina Shire Council regularly consults with the community on projects, publishes the Community Connect newsletter, the mayor has a column in the Ballina Shire Advocate and council has three staff in charge of communications.
Gail Woodgate, Ms Brennan's daughter-in-law, posted on Facebook that "Diane passed away peacefully today with her husband Graham, her son Tony and her sister Lyn by her side."
Funeral details to be advised.