By Brendan Rees
Casey’s mayoral race is underway with councillor Rosalie Crestani officially announcing she was putting her hand up for the top job.
With the next mayor to be decided on 29 October, Four Oaks Ward Cr Crestani said she would be honoured to take over the reins with a pledge to provide a “peaceful and united city with purpose, safety and security.”
At this stage no other mayoral contenders have publicly thrown their hat in the ring.
Cr Crestani, who was currently serving as deputy mayor, said her “greatest driver” to become the next mayor was to address social issues in the community including mental health, drug and alcohol addictions, family violence, and unemployment.
“I hope I can continue working in these areas to ultimately see our community set free from constraints and assist them in walking out their purpose for long term fulfilment,” she said.
Long-time councillor and former mayor Wayne Smith has ruled himself out, while former Cranbourne MP Cr Gary Rowe said he wouldn’t contend due to his busy schedule.
“It’s something I would love to do but you’ve got to be realistic in these things,” Cr Rowe said.
“I think Susan Serey might get up,” he said, adding if she was to be voted in he would “probably” put his hand up as deputy mayor.
Mayor Amanda Stapledon chaired her final council meeting on 15 October after 12 months at the helm.
In her final speech, Cr Stapledon told fellow councillors as well as council staff and the public gallery that she was proud to serve as mayor and felt “a great sense of achievement and gratitude”.
“This year has been sensational – there is no other way that I can describe it,” the two-time mayor said.
“Every item and more on my mayoral bucket list has been achieved … my commitment has always to do good for this great community and to do so; I know that this can only be achieved by working together with councillors and officers alike – to achieve the greater good in making the City of Casey Australia’s most liveable City.
“I look forward to seeing who the next mayor is and to work to ensure that their year will be as terrific as mine has been,” Cr Stapledon said.
Among those to pay tribute the outgoing mayor was Casey chief executive officer, Glenn Patterson, who said Cr Stapledon would leave behind a “really impressive legacy” and “was a fantastic ambassador for the City of Casey” and thanked her for her “tireless effort” over the past 12 months.
“I’ve worked with about 22 mayors over my career in the role as a CEO over many years and without doubt councillor Amanda is the most committed, the most energetic, and the most passionate of any of those … no doubt about that,” he said.
Cr Stapledon was gifted a mayoral portrait as well as flowers and two photo books capturing some of the highlights of her mayoral year.