By Kelly Yates
THE mother of former Casey councillor Karen Baxter has been elected as the new Four Oaks Ward councillor.
Beverley Hastie was announced as the replacement councillor on Monday, following her daughter’s shock resignation from Casey Council on 16 February.
The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) undertook a countback of votes from the November 2008 general election at the City of Casey Civic Centre to fill the vacant position.
Ms Hastie won with 4120 votes, while Roger Hall from the Rotary Club of Narre Warren was next in line with 2595 votes.
It was believed there would be a three-horse race for the position between Mr Hall, and former Four Oaks Ward councillors Rob Wilson and Paul Richardson.
Mr Wilson said he was “surprised” Ms Hastie was elected.
“I didn’t expect it. I’m shocked at the system.”
Last month Mr Wilson predicted Mr Richardson would win, with Mr Hall coming second and himself a close third.
Both Mr Wilson and Mr Richardson said the VEC countback needed to be reviewed.
David Triplow, the returning officer for the 2008 Casey elections, said Ms Hastie had 48 hours from the countback to accept the role, and join sitting councillor Shar Balmes as the Four Oaks Ward councillors.
Cr Balmes said it was great news that the status quo of having five women in the council would remain.
“Today’s outcome doesn’t change my role as a councillor. It now means Four Oaks Ward has two councillors.”
In a candidate profile emailed to Star News Group in the lead-up to the election in November 2008, Ms Hastie said she had lived in the Four Oaks Ward for 30 years.
“I am a mother and grandmother. I know the concerns of families. I promise a better deal for ratepayers, reduced council expenditure and to keep council rates in Casey among the lowest in Melbourne.”
There will be a further countback by the VEC on Friday 19 March if Ms Hastie does not accept.
By Kelly Yates