Greens hold sway as Pulford is elected Mayor
New council leader nominates road safety as top priority
A GREENS councillor has been elected Mayor of the City of Merri-bek for the third year in a row after Adam Pulford took the chains on Wednesday night.
Pulford, who represents the North-East Ward, won a contested election by seven votes to three over outgoing Deputy Mayor Helen Davidson.
He will be the final Mayor in the current term of the council ahead of elections next year.
Four-term councillor and former Mayor Cr Lambros Tapinos was elected unopposed as Deputy Mayor, a position he held also in 2022.
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Pulford is in his first term as a Merri-bek City Councillor. He was elected in 2020 to represent the North-East Ward of Merri-bek.
Pulford said one of his priorities as Mayor would be road safety, particularly pedestrian and cyclist safety. During the past year, he has advocated for a greater share of the council budget to be spent on active transport, but he also nominated improved public transport in the city as a goal.
“Since COVID transport habits have changed and our community is getting more dense and there are challenges we have to face up to there,” he said.
“Also the road death toll is at a high. We’ve seen members of our community lost on our streets. I think as Mayor I can bring our council and community together around those issues and also neighbouring councils.”
Pulford said the risk of climate change and cutting its own emissions would continue to be at the forefront of council activity.
The council would deliver a capital works program of $127 million this financial year, he said.
Outgoing Mayor Angelica Panopoulos said she was proud that as a young woman, she had crashed through a barrier and shown that her generation had a role to play in local government.
She said her first decision as Mayor – to stop holding citizenship ceremonies on January 26 in conflict with federal government policy – had set the tone of her 12-month term as being one of courage in her convictions.
“It is quite clear, based on the decisions we have made, that we know how to take a stand on some big issues and it was really because of the community backing us in and giving us that positive feedback that I had the courage to follow through on a lot of those key decisions that did stir up some controversy or some feedback on the other side.”
Pulford was nominated by Tapinos and seconded by Cr Mark Riley, while Davidson was nominated by Cr Helen Pavlidis and seconded by Cr Monica Harte.
Cr Oscar Yildiz, who was online during Panopoulos’ farewell speech, did not vote.