Former councillor tells ‘Where I went wrong’
“The community has spoken and I will bow out gracefully,” former Division 3 councillor Mal Gear said yesterday.
With 69.7 per cent of the official vote counted in Division 3 late yesterday, Mr Gear felt the writing was on the wall for his local political career.
Of the 3107 votes counted, challenger Shane Waldock has secured 1018 (34.18 per cent) to Mr Gear’s 697 (23.40 per cent).
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Other challengers Colleen Miller (782 or 26.26 per cent), Michiel Pratt (301 or 10.11 per cent) and Terry McMullan (180 or 6.04 per cent) do not look likely to wrest the lead from Mr Waldock.
So far in Division 3, 129 people (4.95 per cent) have voted informally.
Mr Gear felt his election loss at the weekend was most likely due to “most people wanting a change.”
He said the recent budget deficit and the reduced cash reserves had gone a long way to stymying his re-election campaign.
“We’ve done a lot for the region, and accomplished a lot, but there is no denying the cash reserves have gone down,” he said.
He also said the rise in rates, especially for residents in rural areas, had likely contributed to his defeat.
Social media agitation about a “Team Curran” may also have “possibly been a factor”, Mr Gear conceded, but was quick to say “there was never any Team Curran”.
“They were negative all the way through. It definitely would have played a part. Some of the things said on there weren’t true.
“When the mayor was beaten that sentiment may have flowed out to the other councillors. But I always made my decisions independently on what I thought was the best option,” he said.
Mr Gear said he enjoyed his time in office, but did find it challenging at times.
He also said he liked working with the CEO, staff and other councillors.
“I’m happy in what was achieved in my division and how the voting went and I’d like to congratulate the new mayor and councillors once the counting has been finalised,” he said.
Before becoming a councillor Mr Gear was a part-time driving instructor, but with the current coronavirus situation it is not something he is able to return to at the moment.
“I’ll wait until the world resets itself and then go back to doing that,” he said.
“In the meantime I’ll take a bit of a break.”
In Division 4 it looks as if Daryl Dodt has lost his seat to Bruce Devereaux.
According to figures last night 3131 votes, or 67.7 per cent of the vote had been counted with Mr Devereaux claiming 1153 votes (38.12 per cent) to Mr Dodt’s 486 (16.07 per cent).
Mr Dodt was approached for comment.