At a Wyndham council meeting last night, councillors voted to review the local laws with a view to allow for the election of two deputy mayors.
The matter will go out for community consultation from next Monday.
Councillor Heather Marcus moved the motion, saying it was about strengthening the office of the mayor.
“As we all know, the mayor – in a growth city like ours – cannot be everywhere, it is not possible,” she said.
“[Residents] always seem to want the mayor to be at their functions.
“Having two deputies will be beneficial because they will receive experience, and training if they want to become the mayor the following year.”
Councillor Josh Gilligan concurred, saying that the move would give the mayor’s office greater flexibility and visibility.
Fellow councillor Kim McAliney branded the need for two deputy mayors as spin.
“I am very disappointed to find ourselves in this position .. council officers advised against this.”
The topic was hotly contested in a 35-minute debate, and was passed six votes to five. Councillors Heather Marcus, Josh Gilligan, Walter Villagonzalo, Intaj Khan, Tony Hooper and Aaron An voted in favour.
But councillor Henry Barlow said the whole debate was a moot point.
Cr Barlow, who was one of 12 Victorian mayors to take part in a recent review of the Local Government Act, said the draft report – which comes out in a fortnight – spells out the provision of a single deputy mayor.
“If the act passes into legislation, there will never, ever be more than one deputy mayor and this whole process will have been in vain,” he said.
“This motion does two things, it makes a mockery of our local law and it will cost this council thousands of dollars for something that will never happen.”