By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Greater Dandenong councillors have paid tribute to former City of Casey mayor Amanda Stapledon.
Ms Stapledon, 58, was a “formidable person” and “fierce advocate for her community”, fellow Liberal Cr Tim Dark told a Greater Dandenong council meeting on 24 January.
“She had contributed a significant amount of time, often at the bequest and expense of her own life to help Council facilities wherever she could.”
Cr Dark said she was “well regarded” by a range of sports clubs and community groups, sat on several community advisory boards and always helpful to him with advice on regional issues.
Her advocacy for upgrading Thompsons Road, Monash Freeway and other links had benefited Greater Dandenong.
Ms Stapledon – who had been rocked by an IBAC inquiry into Casey councillors – was found dead in a car in Stringybark Drive about 12.30pm on Tuesday 18 January.
Her death was being treated by police as not suspicious.
“Unfortunately, the impact that an IBAC investigation has upon one person and the pressures it brings amongst other things, which no doubt over time will come out, has put a significant amount of pressure and has put her in a position which I am sure nobody else would rather be in,” Cr Dark said.
“It is a very great tragedy.”
Mayor Jim Memeti voiced his condolences to Ms Stapledon’s family.
“A tragic loss to the community,” he said.
“I have known former Cr Stapledon for about a decade. She was always very approachable, very kind and a strong advocate for disability groups.
“She had a great passion for the community and will be sorely missed.”
Councillors and former mayors Angela Long and Sean O’Reilly also paid tribute.
Cr Long, while both she and Ms Stapledon were mayors in 2012, had regular lunch dates with five other female mayors.
“My deepest condolences to her family.”
Cr O’Reilly, in expressing his “sorrow”, said Ms Stapledon was a “very friendly, helpful and collegiate councillor”.
Ms Stapledon’s funeral service was held at Berwick Church of Christ on 2 February.