Benalla Rural City's newly elected councillor Ellen Crocker will be sworn in next month.January 24, 2013 4:33am
New Benalla Rural City councillor Ellen Crocker is excited about her new role and will be sworn in on February 6. Photo by Randall Johnston
Benalla’s Ellen Crocker has been effectively elected after an official election countback last Thursday.
The incoming Benalla Rural City councillor tallied 955 votes, with a wide margin over the remaining candidate, Andrew Vale with 272 votes. The Benalla resident who will replace vacating candidate Peter Dunn in the chamber, is looking forward to working with the other councillors and will be officially sworn in as a councillor on February 6.
‘‘It really could have gone either way, but I am very pleased,’’ she said.
The active volunteer had a busy morning helping with meals on wheels and rushed over to the Town Hall on hearing the news.
‘‘I saw my husband (Tom), he gave me the news and said you better get to the Town Hall,’’ she said.
Cr Crocker is a civil engineer and has worked for several government departments across Australia.
Some of the projects she would like to see completed include the establishment of a long-awaited library and better planning for street and landscaping around Benalla, to name a few.
‘‘We have to sort out our flood problems,’’ she said.
‘‘I would also like to see Benalla become a leader in sustainable housing for the future.’’
Her appointment means that female councillors (four) now outweigh the men (three) at Benalla Rural City Council meetings.
‘‘I haven’t had a chance to tell anyone yet, my children will be pleased.’’
Cr Crocker has two adult children, Roland, 37 and Tamsin, 35.
‘‘I am looking forward to the challenge and I think it definitely will be a challenge,’’ she said.
‘‘There are some contentious issues in Benalla.’’
Cr Crocker who moved to Benalla from Violet Town about five years ago said she has developed a real passion for the town since moving here and has been involved in numerous community groups.
Some of the organisations she is involved in include Meals on Wheels, Soroptimist International, Friends of the Benalla Library, Friends of the Benalla Botanical Gardens, she is president of Friends of the Benalla Art Gallery and an active member of the Benalla Lawn Tennis Club.
Cr Crocker will be sworn in on February 6, not quite in time for the Planning and Development Committee meeting on January 23 or the Finance Committee meeting on January 30.
The councillor who filled the last casual vacancy, Campbell Griffin,was sworn in at a Special Meeting of Council on December 14 after a redistribution.
The extraordinary vacancy arose following the resignation of Cr Peter Dunn.
Returning Officer Jim Shanahan declared the result after a countback of votes from the general election held in October 2012.
Only those candidates who were unsuccessful at the general election and who were still eligible to be elected were included in the countback process.
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