Six running for mayor

Jim Memeti. 177208_02

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

A ‘Melbourne Cup’ field of candidates are lobbying to be Greater Dandenong’s next mayor.

Ahead of the mayoral election on 14 November, up to six councillors are lobbying for their colleagues’ votes.

The field includes recent mayors Jim Memeti (2016-‘17) and Youhorn Chea (2017-‘18).

The other possible candidates are Sean O’Reilly, Maria Sampey, Loi Truong and first-year councillor Sophie Tan.

Their campaigns are complicated by the announcement of a new Paperbark Ward councillor on 11 November.

The countback election is being staged to replace recently-resigned mayor Roz Blades.

Cr O’Reilly said mayoral candidates were lining up to lead during the “historic” opening of the $50m Springvale library and community precinct next year.

“The mayor, as chair and spokesperson of council, should be out in the community, listening intently to community concerns,” the former 2014-‘15 mayor said.

“The mayor should be a unifying force within council.”

Cr Truong, a councillor for 11 years, said it was time for him to serve his first term as mayor.

The former refugee from Vietnam said he’d be a mayor with a “good heart for the people”.

“Our city is a ‘city of opportunity’ where if a person like me can be mayor, everyone can.”

Cr Maria Sampey, whose only mayoral term was in 2005, said she would be a hard-working chair of council.

“What I’d like to introduce is what I did last time and devote one day a week for residents to ‘meet the mayor’.

“If residents had issues, they can come and have a cup of tea and discuss their problems.”