Humphries and Ritchie set to lead new-look Moree Plains Shire Council
KATRINA Humphries was re-elected as Moree Plains Shire Council mayor after the new-look, nine-person council yesterday held a crucial election to decide who would lead Moree for the next two years.
Cr Humphries fought off a strong challenge from Kerry Cassells, while long-standing councillor Sue Price was deposed by Stephen Ritchie for the deputy mayor’s position.
Cr Humphries said last night that the “the next few years are crucial for the survival of local government”.
“The newly-appointed councillors will relish the challenge and it is great for our community to have some new faces to share their views with,” Cr Humphries said.
“I thank Sue Price for the eight years of dedication she has given our shire and I would also like to publicly thank the members of the former council who did not seek re-election, or who were not re-elected.
“Life as a councillor can be time-consuming and at times arduous, and I thank them for their generosity with their expertise,” she said.
Cr Humphries is now supported at the helm by retired Moree builder Stephen Ritchie, who will sit as deputy mayor for the next 12 months.
“I am sure Stephen and myself will be able to work well together and continue to move the shire in a forward direction,” Cr Humphries said.
“In my opinion, the best councils are cohesive and will debate the issues, not the personalities.
“Bring on our great future.”
Cr Ritchie, a member of the Urban Advisory Committee for the past 12 years, admitted late yesterday that he was “overwhelmed” by the entire process, but would strive to serve the rate-payers of Moree.
“It’s all a bit daunting at the moment, and I’m very humbled,” Cr Ritchie said.
“This is my first crack at council so to be elected deputy mayor is a bit mind-boggling.
“But I’ve been elected by the people of Moree and that’s who I’ll be working for.
“My main priorities will be for council to slow down on spending and to just get back to basics – let’s get the things done that need to be done,” he said.
“Moree Plains Shire Council needs to strive to become debt-free.”
Kerry Cassells’ bold move for the position of mayor missed, however the Justice Health clinical nurse specialist was not undaunted.
“I just felt it was time for a change,” Cr Cassells said.
“I have the utmost admiration for Katrina, and know she will continue to do the very best for Moree and support the new councillors in our new and exciting adventure.
“It is daunting, but thrilling and exhilarating at the same time,” she said.
“This new council has some amazingly talented and diverse characters that have only the best intentions for Moree and its villages, and I can’t wait to visit them all and do our level best to make their little pieces of Heaven better,” Cr Cassells said.
General manager Lester Rodgers yesterday welcomed the new council.
“It is really pleasing to see a group of enthusiastic individuals ready to shape the present and future of our wonderful shire. I welcome all the councillors and look forward to working with them over the coming four years,” Mr Rodgers said in a media release issued late yesterday.
The term of the mayoral office will run until September 2018 (for two years), with the deputy mayor elected for one year.
1. Mayor Councillor Katrina Humphries
2. Deputy Mayor Councillor Stephen Ritchie
3. Councillor Kerry Cassells
4. Councillor George Chiu
5. Councillor Jim Crawford
6. Councillor Michael Montgomery
7. Councillor Sue Price
8. Councillor Greg Smith
9. Councillor John Tramby
Words and Image Copyright Bill Poulos 2016
Published Friday, September 30