"IN WITH the old and out with the new" would seem to sum up the situation as far as the councillor vote at the weekend was concerned.
With up to 5000 postal ballot papers still to turn up in the mail today and tomorrow the final result could still be anyone's guess, but the trend towards the top eight out of 22 candidates was pretty much unwavering at the close of counting yesterday.
Sitting councillors Ross Bartley and Jo McNally kept up a strong lead respectively on Saturday night and yesterday morning, followed by Stanthorpe councillors Cameron Gow and Vic Pennisi.
Warwick's Neil Meiklejohn and new face from Killarney Jamie Mackenzie swapped the fifth and sixth positions on the leaderboard several times yesterday, while former Warwick Shire councillor and Allora identity Glyn Rees looks set to make a political comeback.
Stanthorpe's Denise Ingram finished in eight position yesterday, with former senior council officer John Randall more than 500 votes behind her at the close of counting, with the gap having widened during the course of yesterday morning.
Local real estate agent Yve Stocks was about 600 votes further back from Mr Randall, with the other 12 candidates unlikely to sway the final result.
Cr Bartley confirmed last night he was hopeful of securing the deputy mayor's job, but said it would be up to his council colleagues to nominate the second-in-charge and vote accordingly.
"It's certainly been an intriguing result," he told the Daily News.
"We still have a lot of votes to come in. It's about the same number outstanding at this point as last time and anything could still happen.
"But the trend as far as the councillor result was pretty firm during the counting over the weekend."
Cr Bartley said no one could be sure why so few new faces were in the top eight.
"One thing I will say is that I've never seen council campaigning at this level," he said.
"It's been an intense campaign period and I think the vast majority of people have really sat up and taken notice, and that's a positive thing."
Where the count is at...
- Counting of votes at the Warwick Town Hall finished about 2pm yesterday.
- Some 13,570 votes for mayor and councillors were counted, with up to 5000 more postal ballots expected to arrive today and tomorrow.
- More than 23,000 ballots were issued across the region.
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