NATHAN Conroy will be the mayor of Frankston for a third successive year.
Conroy is the first person to ever be mayor of Frankston for three years running. He was re-elected to the role by Frankston councillors at a meeting last Wednesday.
Conroy defeated councillor Sue Baker, who nominated for the position last year as well. Conroy won the vote with support from councillors Liam Hughes, Kris Bolam, David Asker, and Suzette Tayler.
Conroy said he “enjoys every moment” of being mayor “be it the good, bad, or the ugly.”
“I believe I’ll be able to continue the work we have done over the last couple of years,” he said. “We are the greatest city in Victoria. (…) We are no longer the gateway to anywhere.”
Throughout his mayoral tenure, Conroy has been advocating for the implementation of council’s metropolitan activity centre structure plan. The strategy outlines new preferred height limits in Frankston’s city centre – the plan has been authorised by the planning minister and is going through a final round of consultation. Conroy said he hoped to oversee the creation of “all types of housing for all Australians” and “not just those in a penthouse”.
Baker told councillors that her election as mayor would show council “values diversity”.
“To not have a female mayor in this term takes us back to the end of the last century,” Baker told councillors at their meeting last week. “Think carefully about whether or not you want to support genuine diversity in this council.”
The deputy mayor role was not filled at the meeting. After a tied vote, councillors agreed to defer the decision until Monday to allow for further discussions to take place.
Councillors Liam Hughes, Brad Hill, and Kris Bolam nominated for the deputy mayor position. Incumbent deputy mayor Liam Hughes was eliminated in the first round of voting – his vote and the mayor Nathan Conroy’s were the only two cast in his favour. In the next round Hill and Bolam were split four votes apiece. After another vote failed to change the outcome, a deferral was agreed upon.
Bolam said he intends to withdraw from contention on Monday. “I was nominated as a ‘compromise candidate’ given the deadlock in the chamber but neither side had an appetite to achieve a consensus so I have withdrawn my name from consideration,” he said. “In life, it is so important for people to be able to negotiate and compromise. Sadly, we have a few councillors that appear unwilling and unable to look beyond their own interests.
“The vote for the deputy mayor position on Monday will be something of a lesson insofar the need to reach across the aisle and achieve negotiated outcomes. In politics, you won’t go far if you constantly deal in absolutes.”
A tied election has occurred before at Frankston Council. In 2019 former councillors Sandra Mayer and Quinn McCormack received four votes each in the mayoral election. The winner was decided by lottery without a deferral – McCormack drew a piece of paper from a bowl which read “defeated” (“New mayor gets luck of the draw” The Times 11/11/19). The deputy position was decided the same way.
Monday’s vote takes place shortly after publication deadline.
Councillor Steven Hughes is suspended and could not take part in the mayoral voting.