By Corey Everitt
Cardinia Shire Council has chosen its new leadership for the next year, as Cr Jack Kowarzik is chosen as mayor in his first term in the top role.
The council held its mayoral elections on Monday 13 November where the Pakenham Hills Ward councillor was elected as mayor.
Cr Kowarzik served as deputy mayor this year and fellow councillors were pleased with his service to grant him a promotion as he was elected unopposed.
The elation was palpable in the council chambers as outgoing mayor Cr Tammy Radford adorned Cr Kowarzik with the ceremonial regalia while his wife and two boys watched proudly from the gallery.
The new mayor then took his place as chair in the council chambers to speak on his new role over the next year.
He thanked the council’s support for the privilege to continue representing the community as mayor and acknowledged Cr Radford for her work over the previous year.
“It’s not lost on me that there are five former mayors sitting in the chamber tonight,” Cr Kowarzik said.
“Cardinia Shire, formerly the Shire of Pakenham, before that part of the Shire of Berwick, has had many excellent mayors in the past and I hope to be able to contribute to that list.
“To me, leadership is about doing what’s right for our community, these are some difficult times for some many in our municipality, the cost of living crisis being felt especially hard out here.
“We have rates of family violence that are too high, we are fighting against the effects of climate change, we have infrastructure challenges and we need to improve higher education and local job opportunities.
“We also know that there are differing and wide-ranging expectations on councillors and council, along with challenging economic circumstances ahead.
“That’s why it’s so important that our council team continues to work together to achieve the things that truly matter.
“I love our shire, its diversity both human and geographic and I want to make Cardinia Shire better for residents now and better still for the residents who will live here and make up our communities in the future.”
Jack Kowarzik was first elected to the council in the 2020 elections serving for the Pakenham Hills Ward.