Former Kiama council general manager Brian Petschler was last night elected unopposed as Kiama’s new mayor.
Cr Petschler, who served as deputy mayor for the past 12 months, was general manager of Kiama Municipal Council for 15 years, from 1986 to 2001.
At the September 8 council election, the Petschler/Honey ticket recorded 28.9per cent of first-preference votes.
Cr Petschler is the first male mayor of Kiama since 1991.
Since then, Kiama Council has been led by women, with Ruth Devenney elected mayor that year, then Joyce Wheatley in 1992 until 2000 and Sandra McCarthy from 2000 until she stepped down at the last election.
Cr Petschler said he believed the new council had ‘‘a demanding period ahead of us’’.
He said he hoped to follow in the steps of his predecessor and chair meetings in an ‘‘inclusive, fair and courteous’’ manner.
After earlier declaring his intention to stand as mayor, Cr Neil Reilly, who will be the ALP’s candidate for the federal seat of Gilmore, did not nominate.
‘‘I think Brian had a mandate – and I don’t want to end up in the same predicament as Joanna Gash,’’ Cr Reilly said – a reference to the current Gilmore MP and new Shoalhaven City Mayor, who has faced strong criticism for holding dual roles.
Meantime, after 17 years on council, veteran Kiama councillor Warren Steel finally realised his long-held ambition to be deputy mayor.
Cr Steel defeated newcomer Mark Way 6-3 in the vote.