“IF it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
That was the message from two Orange councillors when asked who should lead the council from tonight when councillors elect the mayor for the next year.
And it’s a sentiment shared by most, meaning John Davis is unlikely to be toppled from office, despite challenges from Cr Russell Turner and former one-term mayor Reg Kidd.
The role of deputy mayor, however, is set for a shake-up with Jeff Whitton not planning to recontest his position, opening up the role to five potential candidates.
Past deputy mayor Chris Gryllis hopes to return to the role and newcomer Cr Scott Munro is also interested, but is unlikely to be successful with only Cr Turner pledging his support and several councillors suggesting the first-term councillor is “too green” to be second in charge.
Cr Neil Jones and Cr Kidd have not ruled out a tilt at deputy mayor and Cr Jason Hamling is also understood to be a potential contender.
Last year, councillors and residents were taken by surprise when Cr Davis was elected unopposed after the favourite Cr Turner pulled out of the race because he lost Cr Jones’s support.
If Cr Davis is successful, it will be his 19th stint as mayor since he was elected to Orange council 20 years ago.
“I’ll be asking my fellow councillors to give me support for the next 12 months, but it’s really in their hands,” he said.
So far, six councillors have confirmed their support: Cr Jones, Cr Gryllis, Cr Whitton, Glenn Taylor, Ron Gander and Kevin Duffy.
Cr Ash Brown and Cr Munro would not say who they would vote for.
But the councillor who received the highest first preference vote at last year’s election, Cr Turner, will still put his hand up for mayor, despite the odds being stacked against him, believing the council needs a change.
“It will be a different story to last year,” he said.
“Last year, a couple of well-meaning people were in the background and I was getting uncomfortable.
“I guess I felt I didn’t deserve to just walk in and be mayor ... this year I’ve consolidated myself.”
Cr Kidd, who received the most votes of an individual councillor at the election, will also nominate for mayor if he returns to Orange in time for tonight’s ballot.
“It’s always important that people put their hand up and show that they’re interested whatever way the vote goes,” he said.
“I’ve been committed to being a councillor for 22 years ... I put in 100 per cent effort.”
Cr Whitton said he had two years as deputy mayor and would now support Cr Gryllis’s bid to bring different ideas to the role.
Cr Taylor and Cr Duffy will also support Cr Gryllis, but Cr Davis, Cr Brown and Cr Gander would not say who they would back for deputy.
Cr Hamling could not be reached for comment.