‘It’s the right decision’: Tearful mayor John Davis calls time on public service | Video

FUN: Cr John Davis flanked by grandchildren Clancy Simmons, Jackson Davis, Campbell Davis, Ryley Simmons, Stella Simmons and Mya Simmons, wife Kay, Anthony and Gabrielle Simmons and Ben and Rebecca Davis. Gavin and Cassie Perkins were absent. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0810jkmayor1
FUN: Cr John Davis flanked by grandchildren Clancy Simmons, Jackson Davis, Campbell Davis, Ryley Simmons, Stella Simmons and Mya Simmons, wife Kay, Anthony and Gabrielle Simmons and Ben and Rebecca Davis. Gavin and Cassie Perkins were absent. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0810jkmayor1

Surrounded by beaming grandchildren, a proud wife and two of his children, the man at the helm of Orange council for the best part of 13 years chose his moment to bid farewell.

Overcome by emotion with a hanky not too far away, Cr John Davis confirmed the biggest move in local government in Orange for many a year.

Sitting in the mayoral chair that he has made his own for every year since 2004 [apart from 2008-9] Cr Davis reflected on 30 years of civic service drawing to a close.

“The decision was made and it’s the right decision,” he said.

The popular car dealer, with businesses throughout the Central West, said he had considered quitting 18 months ago until the carrot of amalgamation was dangled before the council.

“Eighteen months ago we certainly had ideas that we would stand down but the amalgamation challenge came along and I wanted to be part of it.

“We supported the government with that project and I have got to say we were let down.

“My total life has been for challenges, whether it be rugby league, whether it be business, whether it be council.”

He listed the Macquarie pipeline to drought-proof Orange as the biggest achievement of his time but said there had been plenty of challenges being mayor and being on council.

“I’ve always joked that we as a council could build major projects, but as mayor I couldn’t stop problems with dogs barking, for example.”

He said new councillors would need a good dose of common sense and leadership to adapt to their roles.

“It’s very difficult to have a consistent line.

“It will take them four years, they will need leadership.

It will be the first time in 30 years that I won’t have an appointment or a phone call from council.

“You should do it through the gut feeling.

“The first decisions you come up with is the right answer, it’s the truth.”

He praised the silent majority of the Orange community who had supported him and the council.

Cr Davis did not reveal any plans for the future but said he was looking forward to seeing more of his family.

“It will be the first time in 30 years that I won’t have an appointment or a phone call from council.”

Wife Kay, two of his three children and six grand-children were in the council room to help him say goodbye.