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Mayor again

ANITA Rank has created another piece of history by being elected Glenelg Shire Mayor for the fifth straight year on Wednesday night.

Cr Rank, for the third year in a row, saw off the challenge of Casterton-based Karen Stephens in a 4-3 vote.

But with a new council, the votes fell a different way.

Cr Rank was nominated by Chrissy Hawker, the former Deputy Mayor who did not seek a tilt at the top job, and other councillors to vote for her were newcomers Scott Martin (who seconded the nomination) and Jayden Smith.

Cr Stephens gathered her other votes from Gilbert Wilson, who nominated her, and new councillor and seconder Michael Carr.

Cr Stephens was then elected Deputy Mayor in a contest with Cr Hawker.

It was another 4-3 vote, with Cr Stephens gaining the support of Crs Wilson, Carr and Martin to give her the numbers, while Crs Smith and Rank voted for Cr Hawker.

Cr Rank two years ago became the first Mayor of Glenelg Shire to serve for three consecutive terms and while she extended that run with Wednesday night’s vote, she also became the first Mayor to serve for five terms, whether consecutive or not, having previously shared the record of four with former councillor Geoff White.

She said she was “honoured and elated” to be re-elected Mayor and believed it was a desire to see stability and a smooth transition through the post-coronavirus restrictions world that councillors were looking for.

“We want to all work together across the shire to be able to get business back on track and some sense of normality around the communities, especially for families and students,” Cr Rank said.

There was work to do progressing the major projects the council had received funding for in recent months.

“That’s rewarding, there’s jobs involved and investment around revitalising the shire and attracting people,” she said.

“There’s also the development of the new vision for the next four years and beyond and that vision will probably look and feel very different because of COVID.”

For Cr Stephens, a former Mayor, it is the first time she will have served as deputy after the position was specifically created last year.

“I see the role as supporting the Mayor and to provide leadership around different things,” she said.

“There’s a capacity I bring to the role that is probably a bit different to some of the others.”

Cr Stephens has been particularly proactive in pushing for road funding, the freight strategy (her work found its way into the state strategy) and with the forestry industry across the Green Triangle region – with the former there is about $55 million to spend.

She also welcomed the three new councillors and also saw a role in mentoring them as they got to grips with the job.

“It’s certainly wonderful to see such diversity around our table now,” she told councillors on Wednesday night.

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