DIVISION TWO has a new councillor, after Clay Bauman was sworn in, on Tuesday, December 20.
The announcement was made last Wednesday (December 14) that Mr Bauman was the successful candidate, following the by-election held on Saturday, December 3.
By Wednesday December 14, Mr Bauman was ahead by 193 votes, but preferential votes had him ahead of candidate Andy Camm, by just 20 votes.
Mr Bauman and his team consider this a great success, as Mr Bauman did not strike any ‘preference vote’ deals with the other candidates.
He was also listed in fourth place on the ballot paper of fellow candidate Dan Popovich’s ‘How to Vote’ card, according to campaign manager Faye Chapman.
Ms Chapman spoke of how this win was ‘no small feat’ for the team.
“It really is a magnificent win considering the obstacles in front of him,” Ms Chapman said.
Mr Bauman was officially sworn in at 9am, on Tuesday, December 20, at the Council Chambers, in Proserpine.
However, his work as a councillor for the community started before that.
“It’s already started, I’ve had phone calls, emails, and messages, and I have started a work list, as I’ve been walking around talking to people,” he said on the eve of his swearing in.
Mr Bauman will be devoting all his time and energy to his work as a councillor, maintaining only a small amount of freelance work on the side.
“I still do freelance video work, so I pick and choose my jobs. I’m only going to keep three of the private boats that I look after,” Mr Bauman said.
“I’ve always just managed the boats to get me out in the sunshine, and away from the computer, and I will continue to do that to give me a release into my passion, and some sanity away from council business, I expect.”
Mr Bauman has been a loud voice in the high-rise debate, for some time. He has also regularly attended council meetings, to question discrepancies and discuss issues at hand.
“I’ve already committed a fair number of hours per week to volunteer work, so getting a job with council will just mean that I can put in more hours than I used to,” he said.
Questions have arisen regarding whether Mr Bauman will be challenged by conflicts of interest as a councillor, due to his prior involvement in community issues.
It is the remaining six councillors that will need to vote, if it is believed there is a conflict taking place.
Mr Bauman confirms that, while he has been vocal against the high-rise, he is just looking out for the integrity of the town and hopes his fellow councillors understand this.
“I’ve always just felt that the integrity of our very popular coastal tourist town amenity should be maintained,” he said.
“I truly believe that they [other councillors] would think that an open debate, and my experience and understanding of the planning scheme, would be beneficial for them making a decision that is in the best public interest, which is what we are employed to do.”
“In my door knocking and questions directly asked to me, the most common thing was – how do you feel about the high-rise? These were Division Two residents raising this issue (not just Division One).” Mr Bauman’s first council meeting will be on January 25, 2023.