A ‘‘Melbourne Cup’’ field of candidates has nominated for Benalla Rural City Council’s 2016 election with a total of 20 nominations by the deadline of midday yesterday (Tuesday, September 20).
Five of the current councillors will re-contest, with only Justin King and Suzy Martin, who recently resigned after moving out of the district, not re-contesting.
There are 15 newcomers, although one, Benalla electrician Don Firth, has previously served on council.
Outspoken Benalla solicitor, David Joseph, who has had a troubled relationship with the Benalla Art Gallery, will stand, as will builder Willy Van Wersch, who also has had a few disagreements with Benalla Rural City Council.
Another ratepayer who has had numerous stoushes with council, former Ensign Manager Matt Jenkins, made his intentions known some months ago.
Well-known businessman and long time supporter of the arts in Benalla, Danny Claridge won top spot on the ballot paper. In second position is former Art Gallery Director Simon Klose.
Not so lucky in the ballot draw was Wall-to-Wall Street Art Festival committee member and Benalla small business owner, Jim Myconos in 17th position.
Four new female faces will contest for the seven places on council: Bernie Hearn who works at Delatite Steel and is well known in show jumping circles, retired physiotherapist and hobby farmer Pauline Bailey, who lives at Glenrowan West who drew last on the ballot, and two other women both born and bred in Benalla, former Queensland landfill consultant Anita Sanson and Winton Wetlands project coordinator Alison Ballard.
Ms Ballard spent a number of years working for the Justice Department in Melbourne working on policy development.
Postie and passionate cyclist Warren Smith, known to many as the organiser of the Benalla Better Bike Hike, describes himself as a ‘‘no-frills’’ candidate.
Other candidates are IT specialist Michael Plex, Benalla plumber Phil Hauptman and gym owner/manager Scott Upston, a relative newcomer to town.
The Ensign is hosting a forum presenting all candidates able to attend at the Lakeside Community Centre on Wednesday, September 28, from 7pm.
●All candidates need to advise The Ensign of their attendance by emailing editor@ benallaensign.com.au