It seems Manningham’s new Mayor, Councillor Deirdre Diamante, was always destined for the gown and gavel, having grown up on Council Street in Doncaster.
Cr Diamante was unanimously elected to the position by her peers at last night’s Annual Council Meeting.
In her acceptance speech, the Tullamore Ward Councillor and mother of three, said she would prioritise Council visibility and responsiveness for the community.
“The opportunity to lead this city in public service is amazing, it is a real honour,” Cr Diamante said.
“I want Manningham to continue to be a great place to live, to learn and to grow. I want my children to want to live here, I want my children to want to raise their families here.”
Cr Diamante said councillors had many responsibilities and one of those was to “protect and foster those aspects of this beautiful city, that make it such a great place to live.”
“I strongly believe one of our core roles, is to represent those people who elected us, advocate for them and to be their voice.
“I want to create more opportunities for councillors to visit your wards and speak on matters that are important to you and your community.”
Councillors congratulated the new Mayor and commented on her strong values and determination to listen to the community, keeping an open mind when it came to decisions affecting Manningham.
These sentiments were echoed by Council CEO, Andrew Day, who congratulated the Mayor on behalf of the organisation.
“I can guarantee you that the team who are in the room, the staff and the team beyond that will hook right in behind you and give you the support you need to be as successful as you can possibly be,” Mr Day said.
Councillor Tomas Lightbody was elected Deputy Mayor in his second major achievement of the day, incredibly, having also completed his master’s degree.
Cr Lightbody was congratulated by his fellow councillors for both achievements and the Mayor and Deputy Mayor will serve in their new positions for one year.
Councillors also thanked outgoing Mayor, Cr Michelle Kleinert for her tireless leadership, energy, passion and for reconnecting Council with the community following the COVID-19 lockdowns.
During her Mayoral term, Cr Kleinert attended more than 600 key openings and events, welcomed over 1000 new citizens to Manningham and was a strong mental health advocate for the community.
Cr Kleinert said she felt a sense of duty to be a strong leader for Manningham following the pandemic and thanked the community, councillors and the organisation for the “beautiful responsibility”.
Cr Kleinert said she had endeavoured to reconnect, listen and be present and accessible each day of her second Mayoral term, having also served as Mayor in 2016-17.
In congratulating Cr Diamante, Cr Kleinert reflected on advice she received from former Mayor, Ron Kitchingman OAM, who attended the gallery last night: “Keep smiling and enjoy!”