Inner West Independent

Councillors pay tribute to Melinda Manikas

Melinda Manikas campaigning for Shayne Mallard in 2012 with daughter Victoria

Melinda Manikas has been remembered this week as a determined, courageous woman by her fellow Leichhardt councillors.

The 38-year-old Balmain ward councillor died on May 7, following a long struggle with cancer. She is survived by her husband Michael and their young daughter Victoria.

“It is unspeakably awful to have lost such a brave, young leader,” said Leichhardt mayor Darcy Byrne.

“The courage and tenacity Melinda showed in getting elected to public office and fighting against cancer were truly remarkable.”

Before joining council, Ms Manikas worked as a chartered accountant and then with Westpac for a number of years.

She was elected in September, 2012 as a Liberal representative.

Ms Manikas took a leave of absence from council with the support of her colleagues last year to receive medical care. She had previously been successfully treated for breast cancer following the birth of her daughter.

Fellow Liberal councillor John Jobling moved a remembrance motion at a council meeting on May 13, immediately following an overflowing church memorial service.

“She came along to council with enthusiasm, ability, quality and a desire to work with not only the people of Balmain, but the people of the whole of the Leichhardt council,” he said.

“She … desperately wanted to come back to council, and did [so] on a couple of occasions.”

Liberal councillor Vera-Ann Hannaford, who was a close friend of Ms Manikas, told the Inner West Independent that Ms Manikas threw herself into the role.

Cr Hannaford recounted how Ms Manikas doorknocked and letterboxed during campaigns with her daughter in a pram.

As the cancer spread, Cr Hannaford said that Ms Manikas “felt she was letting the residents down by not being there for them.”

“In such a short amount of time, she made her mark on the Leichhardt LGA, the council, council staff and the residents, and she will be missed and remembered by everyone she came in contact with,” Cr Hannaford said.

Fellow Balmain ward representative Craig Channells, a Greens councillor, also remembered Ms Manikas for her dedication.

“We always got on well, and her passing away is a sad loss to the council and the community,” Cr Channells said.

Cr Jobling echoed the sentiments of his colleagues, saying that Ms Manikas was “a role model for … the future [of] local government.”

A by-election will likely be held later this year.

Related Posts