Hat draw means Wayne Thorley will continue as Deputy Mayor

Councillor Thorley will stand in for ailing Murray Bridge Mayor Brenton Lewis when required.

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Wayne Thorley will serve another year as Murray Bridge’s Deputy Mayor after having his name drawn out of a hat on Monday night.

Councillors twice tied 4-4 when voting on an occasional fill-in for Mayor Brenton Lewis.

Cr Thorley had held the role since last November, meaning it would usually be time for someone else to have a go.

But Mr Lewis has experienced health problems during the past year, and Cr Airlie Keen argued that that made continuity more important.

“At the moment my vote is going to be based on some stability in relation to the particular set of circumstances this council is facing at the moment,” she said.

Mr Lewis noted he had hardly missed a meeting during 2020, but spoke openly about his situation.

“Everyone is aware that I have a health issue,” he said.

“I can’t tell anybody how long I’m going to be viable.

“I can’t tell you that, over the period ahead, I won’t be in a position where I need the Deputy Mayor more often.

“So it’s a fair comment you make.”

Cr Thorley’s return as Deputy Mayor was confirmed after chief executive officer Michael Sedgman drew his name out of an empty tissue box, in place of an actual hat.

Cr Thorley thanked the council for the “wonderful experience” he said it had been to serve in the role this year, attending events in Mr Lewis' stead and even presiding over an Australian citizenship ceremony.

The other contender for the job had been Cr Andrew Baltensperger.

Cr Karen Eckermann nominated him as “a community favourite” who would have been popular in the role.

As Deputy Mayor, Cr Thorley will receive a 25 per cent higher council allowance – about $4300 for the year – in recognition of the extra duties he may have to take on.

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