Gore mayor settles for councillor Keith Hovell as deputy after requisition

5:38 pm on 13 December 2022
Ben Bell, Gore

New Mayor Ben Bell had initially selected Stewart MacDonell as his deputy. Photo: Supplied / Facebook

Gore District Council has appointed first-term councillor Keith Hovell to fill the vacant deputy mayor's role.

New mayor Ben Bell initially selected Stewart MacDonell as his deputy, but almost as soon as the appointment became official he faced a call to step down from a majority of councillors.

Hovell was not among the seven councillors who signed a requisition letter calling for MacDonell to go.

The Gore District Council has been beset by controversies since Bell defeated long-time incumbent Tracy Hicks at October's elections.

At 23 years old Bell was reportedly the country's youngest ever mayor.

He had already faced controversy over expenses, holding a retreat for elected members in Cromwell which was boycotted by some councillors, and his desire to hire an executive assistant.

MacDonell offered his resignation earlier this month.

Bell today told the council he was willing to work with whoever was chosen as his deputy.

MacDonell nominated Keith Hovell, who was a planning consultant for the council for almost two decades before standing at this year's elections.

He was appointed to the deputy mayor role unanimously.

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