THE swearing-in of new councillor Carmel Ripper on Tuesday means a first for council – four female sitting councillors – the most ever.
It also means she has been sworn in as a Wellington Shire councillor midterm for the second time.
Cr Ripper formally began her second stint on council during Tuesday night’s council meeting, joining fellow women councillors Carolyn Crossley, Gayle Maher and Jill Wood, and men mayor Garry Stephens, Scott Rossetti, Ian Bye, John Tatterson and Marcus McKenzie.
She was last week declared the winner of recount of votes from the 2020 election to replace long-serving councillor Malcolm Hole, who died on April 10, as one of three representatives for the Northern Ward.
It is the second time Cr Ripper has been elected to council via a countback.
In 2017, she won a countback of votes to replace Keith Mills, who had resigned.
Speaking after swearing in, Cr Ripper acknowledged the sad circumstances which led to her returning to council.
“This is tinged with a large amount of sadness … I was privileged that (Malcolm Hole) was my mentor and friend, so I believe I had a good teacher for a short time,” she said.
“I will certainly do my best.
“It’s lovely to be back.
“It’s just like being back on the team.
“This is not the first time I’ve been on the sideline; this is the second time.
“I think I’ve might have created a bit of history.
“It’s really good to be back, and I look forward to devoting my time and energy to the community of the Wellington Shire.
“No matter what ward, I’m there for everyone – the whole of the 42,000 people with 11,000 square kilometres.”
The Northern Ward takes in Maffra, Heyfield, Rosedale, Stratford, Dargo, Licola and the High Country.