THE man behind the once-viral social media craze to chalk roads around the world with rainbow colours in support of LGBTI equality has been elected to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras board.

DIY Rainbow founder James Brechney today thanked his supporters for getting behind his campaign, saying he was “thrilled” to be a part of the team.

“I’m especially excited that both myself and Brandon Bear have secured seats as part of a newer generation to join the Mardi Gras board,” he said.

Brechney has said he’d like to see “a more inclusive attitude” for the organisation and nominated reversing the direction of the Parade and ending the night with a “Castro style block party” as future ideas for the festival.

The OX Live radio show host is one of two new appointments to the board, with former director Greg Small re-joining the organisation following a previous stint as deputy co-chair.

Small, who works in logistics for Woolworths, said: “I would like to thank those who supported me. I am thrilled, honoured and look forward to being part of a great team.”

In his candidate statement, Small said he was committed to ensuring the organisation remains financially viable and maintains strong relationships with the State Government and Sydney Council.

However, in a potential shot across the bows of re-elected board members, Small said he encouraged “members to get involved and start to demand the change so desperately needed by [Mardi Gras] and to hold people accountable for actions and outcomes”,

The new board faces a testing time with Mardi Gras this year making a $178,000 loss following a $46,000 profit the year before amid calls to reign in costs and scale down the party.

Six of the eight spots were taken by current board directors with co-chair Paul Savage retaining his seat for the third year in a row.

However, current board member Craig Richards lost out on a second term on the board.

The election has been mired in controversy since Mardi Gras suspended the immediate voting rights of about 150 new members due to an investigation into a number of suspected false membership applications with some calling for the vote to be delayed.

This year’s election was the first to allow electronic voting with 459 of the 572 votes done online.

The new board meets this week with one of the first tasks being to elect new co-chairs with the retirement of current co-chair Siri Kommedahl.

Many of the new board are likely to be around for some time, with yesterday’s annual general meeting voting to allow two year terms for directors.

Candidates elected in order:

  • Damien Hodgkinson
  • Fran Bowron
  • Darren Bruce
  • James Brechney
  • Paul Savage
  • Brandon Bear
  • Greg Small
  • Michele Bauer

 

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