Murray Bridge council's class of 2014

New faces: Andrew Baltensperger, Tyson Matthews, Airlie Keen, Tod Cusack and Karen Eckermann will join four returnees on the Murray Bridge council for the next four years.
New faces: Andrew Baltensperger, Tyson Matthews, Airlie Keen, Tod Cusack and Karen Eckermann will join four returnees on the Murray Bridge council for the next four years.

IT took 193 preference counts to produce an election result for the Murray Bridge council, as more votes than usual were cast earlier this month.

Almost 43 per cent of registered voters filled in their ballots for the council election, up from 40pc in 2010.

Murray Bridge's newest councillors swore to do their duties "conscientiously and to the best of (their) abilities" in a ceremony at the city's council chambers on Monday night.

Electoral Commission representative Ken Coventry took the elected members through their oaths and commended them on a fair and hard-fought campaign which featured little mud-slinging or vandalism of posters.

For the majority of elected members new to their roles, the induction evening was the first gust of a whirlwind learning experience in the lead-up to their first public meeting next Monday.

Councillors elected across South Australia this month are required to undertake formal training, as Local Government Association president David O'Loughlin explained in a recent statement.

"As the first sphere of government to mandate training for politicians, we will ensure that we're better prepared than ever before," he said.

"Councillors come from all walks of life to participate in decision-making forums and preside over budgets in the many millions of dollars.

"Training to better prepare them for this work is welcome and necessary for good decision making."

As well as gaining a new mayor in Brenton Lewis, five of Murray Bridge's nine councillors were replaced at the election.

Small business owners Tyson Matthews and Andrew Baltensperger, consultant Tod Cusack, personal assistant Airlie Keen and now full-time councillor Karen Eckermann were the new faces elected to join returning councillors Clem Schubert, Fred Toogood, Theo Weinmann and Jerry Wilson.

Council chief executive officer Peter Bond said he was excited by the mix of old and new councillors who would take the organisation through its next four years.

"It inspires us (staff) and challenges us to look at new ways of thinking," he said.

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