IT could be up to Orange voters to decide if Kevin Duffy should remain an Orange City councillor if he chooses not to appeal the Administrative Decision Tribunal’s (ADT) decision to dismiss him from office.
The ADT ordered Cr Duffy’s dismissal after it found at the time of his nomination for council he was ineligible for election as he was not a resident of the Orange local government area.
Cr Duffy has signalled his intention to consider fighting to retain his council seat, saying since September’s council election he has purchased property in Orange making him eligible to run for council.
If Cr Duffy chooses not to appeal the ADT’s decision the council will have to call a by-election within three months.
A spokeswoman for the Division of Local Government (DLG) confirmed Cr Duffy will be allowed to re-contest his seat at the by-election if he has become eligible to stand for election as an Orange resident or ratepayer.
Under the Local Government Act councillors that are disqualified from holding civic office must wait for the next ordinary council election to re-contest their position.
But the DLG spokeswoman confirmed cases of dismissal, like Cr Duffy’s, were different to cases of disqualification.
The council is unable to reduce the number of councillors to 11 to save the costs of a by-election.
In line with the act, any reduction to councillor numbers would have to be decided by voters with a referendum and would not come into effect until the next ordinary election.