DEMOCRATIC Unionist Party Alderman Paula Bradley is the new Mayor of Newtownabbey.
The Antrim Line district electoral area representative, who served as Deputy Mayor last year, was elected as the borough's first citizen for 2010/11 at the council's Annual General Meeting held in the civic headquarters at Mossley Mill on Monday evening.
Of the borough's 25 elected members , only one - Councillor Fraser Agnew of the United Unionist Coalition - was absent from the meeting.
Before election for the borough's new Mayor and Deputy Mayor commenced, Alliance councillor Billy Webb asked for a suspension of Standing Orders and proposed that voting be carried out by secret ballot.
The DUP's Alderman Paul Girvan requested an amendment to this proposal, calling for the election to be by poll vote. Following a show of hands around the council chamber, Mr Girvan's amendment was carried.
Mr Girvan proceeded to propose Alderman Paula Bradley for the position of Mayor, a move seconded by his party colleague, Alderman Nigel Hamilton.
Alliance Councillor Lynn Frazer countered by proposing the SDLP's Noreen McClelland for the position, and in this she was seconded by Independent Councillor Brendan Carlin.
With the support of 19 members, Alderman Bradley went on to comprehensively win the vote for Mayor. Alderman Bradley's votes were gleaned from the DUP's Alderman Billy Ball, Councillor Pamela Barr, herself (Alderman Paula Bradley), Alderman Billy DeCourcy, Councillor Mandy Girvan, Alderman Paul Girvan, Alderman Nigel Hamilton, Councillor Robert Hill, Councillor Etta Mann, Councillor Jackie Mann and Councillor Victor Robinson, and from the UUP's Councillor Jim Bingham, Councillor Janet Crilly, Councillor Barbara Gilliland, Councillor Vera McWilliam, Councillor Ken Robinson and Alderman John Scott, as well as from Independent Councillor Tommy Kirkham.
In her bid for the Mayoral position, Councillor Noreen McClelland gained the support of five members - Alliance councillors Tom Campbell, Lynn Frazer and Billy Webb, Independent councillor Brendan Carlin, and herself (Councillor Noreen McClelland).
Alderman Paula Bradley was duly declared the new Mayor of Newtownabbey and received the Mayor's chain and robe from the borough's outgoing first citizen, Alderman John Scott of the UUP.
Alderman Bradley, a social worker, who has been an elected representative on Newtownabbey Borough Council for the past five years, said she felt "very honoured" to be made Mayor.
"I hope to fulfil my duties to the best of my ability and wish to thank members for their trust and respect in electing me to this privileged position," she said.
Alderman Bradley had special words of acknowledgement for the former Mayor John Scott and his wife Audrey.
She thanked them both for making her year as Deputy Mayor "a very relaxed and comfortable" one.
Describing Mr Scott as having been a "wonderful Mayor, who had made many an occasion throughout the past year both memorable and a pleasure", Alderman Bradley said she sincerely hoped to be able to continue his sterling work in her year in the post.
She also added that she was proud and delighted to be "one of only three female Mayors of the borough in its 52-year history, and also I do believe, the youngest!"
Following the vote for the first citizen, DUP Councillor Jackie Mann proposed Independent Councillor Tommy Kirkham for Deputy Mayor, and was seconded by DUP Councillor Dineen Walker.
Alliance Councillor Tom Campbell proposed party colleague Billy Webb for the same position and was seconded by the SDLP's Noreen McClelland.
In what was to be another poll vote, Tommy Kirkham was elected Deputy Mayor. Councillor Kirkham's 13-strong support came from the DUP's Alderman Billy Ball, Councillor Pamela Barr, Alderman Paula Bradley, Alderman Billy DeCourcy, Councillor Mandy Girvan, Alderman Paul Girvan, Alderman Nigel Hamilton, Councillor Robert Hill, Councillor Etta Mann, Councillor Jackie Mann, Councillor Victor Robinson, Councillor Dineen Walker and himself (Councillor Tommy Kirkham).
Seven members voted for Councillor Billy Webb. Backing him were Councillor Jim Bingham and Alderman John Scott of the UUP, the SDLP's Councillor Noreen McClelland, Independent Brendan Carlin and Alliance councillors Tom Campbell, Lynn Frazer and himself (Councillor Billy Webb).
There were four abstentions in the poll vote for Deputy Mayor - and they were all by members of the Ulster Unionist grouping on the council - Councillor Janet Crilly, Councillor Barbara Gilliland, Councillor Vera McWilliams and Councillor Ken Robinson.
Find out who took all the top committee posts and why the council chamber has been branded "a cold house for non-DUP members" - see this week's Times...