Rae Gate steps up as Gympie's third 'mayor' in a month
THE Gympie region's new acting mayor yesterday ruled out running for the top job at next month's by-election, but said she would love to be deputy mayor.
Councillor Rae Gate will now lead Gympie Regional Council until the council by-election in early February decides who will be mayor until the local government elections in early 2016.
The Gympie council is in the unique position of possibly being led by five different mayors within a space of less than 18 months: Ron Dyne, Tony Perrett, Rae Gate, the winner of the by-election and the mayor elected at next year's full council election.
Cr Gate was the only woman present at yesterday's special general meeting and was voted in unanimously by her peers. She was nominated by Cr Ian Petersen, seconded by Cr Mick Curran.
Former deputy mayor Tony Perrett, who has been the unofficial acting mayor since Mr Dyne was diagnosed with cancer in July, and the official acting mayor since Mr Dyne resigned on December 19, has stepped aside now that the State Election has been called.
Cr Perrett won LNP preselection to contest the safe seat of Gympie on January 31. If not successful, he will resume his role as deputy mayor.
Cr Perrett chaired yesterday's meeting but has stepped down and will take leave without pay once the Electoral Commission officially notifies him and the other state candidates next Tuesday.
A delighted but not surprised Cr Gate said following the meeting that although she was in a caretaker role it would be "business as usual" for the council, with the region's Australia Day celebrations and Rainbow Beach art show high on the agenda this month.
"We are not going to stay quiet," she said. "We have a council meeting at the end of this month. We are not going to be taking a back seat."
Cr Gate has been on the council since 2008, representing Division 2 and heading up the council's social wellbeing portfolio.
She said yesterday she was "born and bred" here and that there had been Gates in the Gympie region since the late 1800s. "I will not be running for mayor this time," she said of February's by-election. "But I am very interested in being deputy mayor."
Crs Julie Walker and Mark McDonald were absent from yesterday's meeting.