Council twist: Graham Hackett elected mayor

Cr Graham Hackett

A shock result in the Macedon Ranges mayoral election has put councillor Graham Hackett in the top role.

Councillors spurned last-term candidate John Letchford, electing Cr Hackett by a vote of 5-4 last Wednesday night.

Cr John Connor, who was later elected deputy, nominated Cr Hackett for the mayoralty, and was supported by Cr Russell Mowatt, outgoing mayor Cr Jennifer Anderson and Cr Sally Piper.

Cr Letchford, who was expected to be the only candidate for the role, was backed by councillors Roger Jukes, Henry McLaughlin and Ian Ellis.

Cr John Letchford
Cr John Letchford

The selection of Cr Hackett, who was elected in east ward in 2012, means that every mayor during the current council has been a first-term councillor.

“I’m looking forward to working closely with the community and councillors and will take pride in helping council to achieve its vision of a region that has a strong sense of place and community,’’ Cr Hackett said.

“I’m passionate about achieving great things for the Macedon Ranges; it’s where I live and work, and I want to enrich and protect that for future generations.’’

Cr Hackett was deputy mayor in 2013-14. He will be supported by two-time mayor John Connor, who is entering his final year as a councillor. Cr Connor said he was excited about the year ahead.

“I’m looking forward to working with the mayor and my colleagues to achieve a number of important projects and plans during the final year of our four-year term,” he said.

Cr Hackett said Cr Connor had been a ‘‘monument’’ for him as he learnt the ropes on council. Cr Piper was among those who praised outgoing mayor Cr Anderson for her work during a ‘‘tough year’’.