Former Urana Shire Mayor Pat Bourke is the first ever mayor of Federation Council which was formed on May 12, 2016 following the merger of Corowa and Urana Shires and which had since been run by Administrator Mike Eden of Albury.
Two of the nine elected councillors following the September 9, 2017 vote, Cr Bourke and Cr Paul Miegel stood for the top job of mayor.
A secret ballot was the choice of voting by councillors on the motion of Cr Miegel and Cr Gail Law.
For the position of deputy mayor there were three nominations Crs Miegel and Law and Cr Shaun Whitechurch.
Cr Whitechurch received the most votes and was elected deputy mayor. The term of deputy mayor is for 12 months, on the motion of Crs Andrew Kennedy and Norm Wales. The position of mayor is a two-year plan.
Cr Bourke expressed his appreciation on being appointed mayor.
“I thank all the councillors who supported me,” he said.
“I consider it a privilege and honour to be the first mayor of Federation Council.
“I pay tribute to the former councillors from the Urana and Corowa shires, and staff across the various communities and very much look forward to leading towards a united council.”
Cr Bourke congratulated all the councillors on their election and said he looks forward to the challenge ahead.
Before the merger, Cr Bourke was Urana Shire Mayor for three years after being deputy mayor during his eight-year councillor term on Urana Shire Council.
The 53-year-old business owner of Billabong Agriculture in Urana and Oaklands, and wife Natascha have six children and live in Urana.
Federation Council’s inaugural mayor likes fishing and camping, “going into the mountains caravanning” and has played a lot of sport.
Cr Bourke has played both Rugby League and Aussie Rules Football, golf, water skiing and tennis. He must have been a handy rugby and footballer, having undertaken trials for the state team while boarding at St Francis College in Leeton.
“I’m still playing tennis (A Grade), with Urana,” he told the Yarrawonga Chronicle.
“I’m very passionate about water - anything recreational - and management of water is so important.”
Those comments complement what he said to the Yarrawonga Chronicle upon the NSW Government endorsing the amalgamation of Urana and Corowa Shires when he referred to a ‘water theme’ connecting the two former shires.
The first deputy for Federation Council is the 47-year old Operations Manager of Focus Engineering at Corowa, Cr Shaun Whitechurch.
Cr Whitechurch is a well-known master of ceremonies for many local events and former Citizen of the Year.
“We simply need to generate tourism and attract business to our area and the rest will follow, he said in the lead up to the September 9 election day.”