By Jeremy Sollars
Vote counting for the Southern Downs Regional Council 2020 election has finished for the week and will resume on Monday, 6 April.
The mayoral result has not yet been ‘declared’ by the Electoral Commission but as reported Vic Pennisi is set to take office as Mayor early next week, with a formal declaration expected on Monday or Tuesday.
For the councillors, only a few hundred more postal votes are expected to arrive, with Tuesday the cut-off.
With eight councillors to be elected from a field of 26 candidates Ross Bartley maintains a comfortable lead of just over 1100 votes from his closest contender, Cameron Gow. As of late today, Friday 3 April, Bartley was on 9455 – 5.9%.
Yve Stocks today conceded defeat, making her announcement on social media. She polled a steady 4% during counting in recent days but was in 13th place as of today, with 6411. Fellow 2016-2020 term councillor Rod Kelly is currently at position 11 (7048 – 4.39%), while Marika McNichol is on 3.62%.
While the 2-7 position holders have not changed in the last two days there is a currently a closer race for ‘place 8’, between Stanthorpe’s Stephen Tancred and Allora’s Glyn Rees.
Once both the mayoral and councillor ballots have been declared – possibly as late as Tuesday – the new council will formally take office. Their first ‘statutory’ meeting is required to be held within 14 days of the declaration, but new mayor Vic Pennisi is understood to have the option of calling a special meeting ahead of that, to establish the council’s immediate priorities, especially in light of the COVID-19 crisis. Either way the first meeting of the new council is likely to involve a remote tele-conferencing element due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions.
A deputy mayor will be chosen from among the councillors at that first meeting – contrary to what many believe the deputy’s post does not automatically go to the councillor who polled highest at the election, and will go to a vote at the meeting.
Standings as of today – Friday 3 April…
1. Ross Bartley – 9455 (5.9%)
2. Cameron Gow – 8332 (5.2%)
3. Jo McNally – 8254 (5.15%)
4. Andrew Gale – 8021 (5%)
5. Sheryl Windle – 7947 (4.96%)
6. Marco Gliori – 7693 (4.8%)
7. Cynthia McDonald – 7517 (4.69%)
8. Stephen Tancred – 7340 (4.58%)
9. Glyn Rees – 7166 (4.47%)
10. Russell Wantling – 7094 (4.42%)
11. Rod Kelly – 7048 (4.39%)
12. Michael Jensen – 6761 (4.22%)