Former Corowa Shire Mayor Fred Longmire and past Corowa Shire Councillor Francesco Bruinsma are looking to return to local government as the pair contest the upcoming election of the newly-formed Federation Council.
They are standing as one group of two candidates under the black line – Mr Longmire is number one on the ballot while Mr Bruinsma is number two.
“We believe our journey for the replacement of administrator by elected people gives an edge to prepare for the challenges ahead,” Mr Longmire said.
“This is because as former Corowa councillors we were both commended to the imposed Local Representative Committee and as we were unable to support the direction taken by the administrator and general manager as one of us resigned and the other was dismissed.
“This action was subsequently supported by four other Local Representative Committee original members with only one replacement.”
Mr Longmire said his and Mr Bruinsma’s position had never changed.
“Best practise and code of conduct for such an important merger under proclamation of the former Corowa and Urana councils we believe was not completely adhered to,” Mr Longmire said.
“Not to doubt the future prosperity of the new council, we are standing to help give stability going forward as both of us have benefited from public exposure to try and restore public confidence.
“Our unified track record over many years of business accruement and assessment provides us with good knowledge of being able to have input towards sound business practices and management of a consultative, democratic corporate entity.”
Mr Longmire first joined Corowa Shire Council as a councillor in 2004, serving until 2015.
During his time on council he served as deputy mayor and also mayor (unchallenged from 2011 to 2015).
Mr Longmire said while the amalgamation had its challenges in the form of distance council now covers, it also had many positives.
“Remembering that under the provision for the budget income for ‘Fit for the Future’, the landmasses or farm rate income is almost as high as the residential, so even though you have a big area, because of that area you have big income on landmass for an operation,” he said.
“A lot of people were frightened you would be servicing roads because there would be a lot more of them, some of that’s true but there’s a lot less roads in the former Urana Shire then there is Corowa because the area is bigger in production on the farms.”
The Brian Unthank Real Estate agent believes the large number of candidates contesting the election (42) was healthy.
“It’s really healthy that these people have applied themselves because what will happen is they go forward with enthusiasm, but if they get on council then they will find that the accountability is very high and the code of conduct is part of the journey that people will learn,” he said.
“When I first got on (council) we did workshops and there were mechanisms where you could go and learn to be a good councillor and I am sure that will happen.”
Mr Longmire said his partnership with Mr Bruinsma, who is originally from the Netherlands, was a no-brainer.
“He is very community-minded and a great businessman,” Mr Longmire said.
“He has no other agenda other than making it a good place for his kids to live.”