Gore District has a new deputy mayor — councillor Keith Hovell.
Councillors unanimously voted in Cr Hovell at yesterday’s council meeting.
Mayor Ben Bell initially chose Stewart MacDonell for the position.
However, before November’s statutory meeting, seven councillors excluding Cr Hovell, Robert McKenzie and John Gardyne signed a requisition to have Cr MacDonell removed as deputy mayor.
At a governance workshop on December 1 to discuss the matter, Cr MacDonell resigned.

Yesterday before he called for nominations Mr Bell read Cr MacDonell’s resignation letter.
Given the tension the appointment had caused in the district he felt it was appropriate, Mr Bell said.
Cr Dickson said she would like the mayor to also endorse Cr Hovell.
‘‘So that council can move on and get on with [the] work of council as representatives,’’ she said.
Mr Bell said he did not mind who was his deputy.
‘‘I believe I can work with everyone around the table,’’ he said.

Mr Hovell said the position of deputy mayor was not one of power.
‘‘I have one vote around the table like everyone else.’’
It was a responsible and multi-faceted role, he said.
‘‘I intend to carry it out with energy and to the best of my ability so that together we the councillors working with the staff and our community can achieve positive outcomes in the best interests of the Gore district and the people we represent.’’

Community Lifestyle Services general manager Rex Capil tabled a report at the meeting outlining a new committee structure.
Mr Bell said as it was his statutory right he would appoint chairs for those committees and there would be ‘‘no further discussion’’.

If the councillors did not ‘‘feel comfortable’’ with his decision they would need to follow the same requisition process which resulted in Cr MacDonell’s resignation, he said.
Cr Gardyne will chair the Asset and Infrastructure committee, Cr MacDonell the Audit and Risk, Cr Dickson Community Wellbeing and Cr Hovell the Policy and Planning.

About 20 members of the public attended the meeting, some of whom were vocal at times