Steel takes step back after 'brain snap'

Kiama councillor Warren Steel.
Kiama councillor Warren Steel.

Veteran Kiama councillor Warren Steel says the reaction to the way he reluctantly delivered an "acknowledgement to country" at the recent Kiama Lifestyle, Business and Wedding Expo was a factor in his decision not to stand again for deputy mayor.

"I had a brain snap," Cr Steel said. "I need to take a step back at the moment."

The 74-year-old is now in his 18th year on Kiama Municipal Council and last year realised a long-held ambition when he was elected deputy mayor at his eighth attempt.

However Cr Steel was forced to undertake "cultural awareness training" after his speech at the opening of the wedding expo on August 23, where he was standing in for Mayor Brian Petschler.

"I have been under a lot of stress lately with a few things that have happened and just need a break," Cr Steel said.

"I just took too much on last year. I will still stay a councillor and maybe stand again for deputy mayor next year, but right now I will just take it easy."

Cr Petschler will serve as Kiama's mayor for another year after being re-elected unopposed on Tuesday.

Cr Neil Reilly replaces Cr Steel as deputy mayor after winning with six votes, ahead of Greens councillor Andrew Sloan on two votes and Mark Way with one.

Cr Reilly's election came 10 days after the federal election where he was the unsuccessful Labor candidate for the Gilmore seat.

Last week, Cr Reilly said he would nominate for the casual Senate vacancy created if former foreign minister Bob Carr retired from Parliament.

"I keep my council work separate from the other political aspects of my life."


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