By Sahar Foladi
An explosion of clapping erupted in the public gallery at the announcement of Lana Formoso as the mayor of the Greater Dandenong Council on 16 November.
While the transfer was a smooth one for the newly elected mayor with no rival up against her, this was the opposite case for the deputy mayor role which went down to a tie, with a revote expected for the next council meeting.
Councillor Jim Memeti recollected the days before Cr Formoso ran for council. Her passion for the community drove her to bring a long list of issues to council meetings, such as Stud Road pedestrian safety.
“She did a great job as deputy mayor this year and she has proved that she can keep up and be a good mayor.
“Four years ago, she was a resident like everyone else and today she’s the mayor.
“Congratulations on her hard work.
“She’ll have my support whenever she needs it.”
Fast forward four years, she was changed into her mayor attire and proudly acknowledged her devoted husband Daniel, two boys Luka and Hugo, mother Radina, and extended family and friends.
Born, raised, and now working as a physical education high school teacher in Dandenong while raising her own family in the diverse municipality, she has set a strong example to other upcoming councillors.
“I will strive to make our community a better place, a healthier, improved place for future generations.”
Meanwhile, councillor Angela Long did not congratulate the new mayor.
A tight-mouthed Cr Long shook her head side to side to indicate she wouldn’t pass any well wishes as she moved her microphone away.
Cr Long later rejected there was any division instead claiming it’s “part of the election”.
When asked how the new mayor may fill in the role, she said, “that’s up to her”.
In the deputy mayor vote, Cr Long was a last-minute surprise nomination by councillor Bob Milkovic. She contested the position with councillor Richard Lim, who was nominated by Cr Memeti.
Although she’d intended to step up for the deputy mayor role, Cr Long said she was surprised at Cr Milkovic’s nominations, as was everyone else.
“I knew he was thinking about voting, which is unusual for him. He’d indicated that he might vote for me but until the votes cast you can’t know.”
Cr Long said she would be comfortable working with the mayor as her deputy.
The deputy mayor vote was tied 4-4 and adjourned for half an hour in an unsuccessful bid to break the stalemate.
Ultimately, there was expected to be a revote at the next council meeting on Monday 27 November.
Councillor Lim said he “felt embarrassed in front of the audience that we couldn’t be together on board to elect a deputy mayor“.
He’s not worried about the position at all and that he’ll rather the community to judge his works in Greater Dandenong, he said.
“My focus will be to bring everyone together, harmony in the council and in the community,” he said.