STEFAN GAWRYSIAK is set to become the next mayor of Henley.
The former assistant headteacher of Gillotts School was chosen to succeed Elizabeth Hodgkin at the meeting of Henley Town Council on Tuesday.
A member of the ruling Henley Residents’ Group, he was selected ahead of Conservative councillor Lorraine Hillier by a majority vote.
Councillor Gawrysiak was elected in May 2011 and is currently deputy mayor.
Councillor Hillier, who runs the Hot Gossip coffee house in Friday Street, has been a councillor for 14 years but not served as mayor despite being put forward for the role by her party previously.
Fellow Conservatives argued that while it was customary for a member of the ruling group to be made Mayor, there could be exceptions.
Councillor Sam Evans said: “It is absolutely right that being Mayor is nothing to do with length of time but it has everything to do with what you have done.
“Cllr Lorraine Hillier has been a true standard bearer for the businesses in our town. She works constantly, quietly and positively for the good of Henley.”
Councillor Kellie Gehrmann, who nominated Cllr Gawrysiak, said he had been a “remarkable” Deputy Mayor.
She said: “Cllr Gawrysiak is not afraid to get his hands dirty and is often seen around the town or in this chamber.
"He spent 30 dedicated years educating young people in the town and is simply known by them as the legend.
“He is a man that gets things done… and has a natural authority as a chairman and peacemaker.”
All 10 HRG members present voted for Councillor Gawrysiak.
Fellow party member Martin Akehurst, an IT design engineer-turned-actor, won the vote to be deputy mayor, defeating Conservative councillor David Nimmo Smith by eight votes to four with three abstentions.
Councillor Jeni Wood, who proposed him, said he had worked hard on the neighbourhood planning working party and on the planning committee on “preserving the jewel of a town how it should be”.
The annual mayor-making ceremony will take place in May at the town hall after a final vote by councillors which is considered to be a formality.