COUNCILLOR Russell Turner let down his supporters when he failed to nominate for mayor at Thursday night’s council meeting, according to former mayor Tim Sullivan.
Yesterday Mr Sullivan was scathing in his criticism of Cr Turner, who pulled out of the mayoral race at the last minute when he realised he didn’t have the numbers.
“I think it’s pathetic he has come out and criticised Neil Jones this way for not supporting him,” Mr Sullivan said, referring to a story in Saturday’s Central Western Daily in which Cr Turner said he was let down by Cr Jones.
“Russell ran for council saying he wanted change and would stand for mayor and that’s why many people voted for him,” he said.
Mr Sullivan said he was speaking from experience.
“Back in 1995 when I was voted in I got more votes than any of the others put together and I topped the poll in every booth in Orange,” he said.
“But when I got to council, Bunky (former mayor John Davies) beat me with the numbers and I didn’t like it one bit,” he said.
“Every year for the next term I put my hand up again knowing I would be beaten, but there’s an obligation to step up to the mark and represent the people who elected you.”
Mr Sullivan said another surprise for him as a former mayor and long-serving member of council was reading in the Central Western Daily last Wednesday that a councillor elected on Mr Turner’s ticket would not commit to voting for him.
Mr Sullivan was first elected as mayor of Orange in 1983 at the age of 37, and served in that role until 1991.
After retiring for a term he stood again in 1995, securing a large portion of the vote.
“At that time I thought I had the clearest mandate possible to be mayor but it didn’t happen,” he said.
Mr Sullivan said the challenge was for Mr Turner to put in a concerted effort for the top job in the next term, despite his disappointment.
“He can still keep putting his hand up for mayor and I think out of respect to those who voted for him he should do that,” he said.
“You can’t expect to treat the electorate like dummies.”