Outgoing councillors thank their supporters

SHOWGROUND SAVED: Ron Gander will not return to the council after being excluded from the election count.

SHOWGROUND SAVED: Ron Gander will not return to the council after being excluded from the election count.

TWO councillors have thanked the community for its support as they bow out of local government. 

Councillors Chris Gryllis and Ron Gander will not return to Orange City Council after failing to attract votes at last Saturday’s poll. 

Cr Gryllis was excluded after the 77th redistribution of preferences, while Cr Gander was excluded after the 80th round. 

The local government veteran was first elected in 1987 and only missed the 1995-99 term. 

He woke on Friday morning to phone calls and text messages from friends and even flowers at his office. 

“It was a bit scary the comment of one person, [who said] ‘Sorry to lose you’ – I assured him that I am still alive and kicking,” he said. 

Cr Gryllis thanked ratepayers for giving him the privilege of seven “unforgettable” terms, as well as his daughter, Irene, and wife, Mosha.

“My stay all these years was made all the more pleasant and productive in no small part due to the excellent support of many fellow councillors and council officers, not mention their patience and understanding of my Greek,” he said. 

Cr Gander was elected to the most recent term of council in 2012 on a platform to save Orange Showground and succeeded in having a $1.5 million pavilion built, which could be the venue for an Australian championship boxing match in November. 

“I’m grateful for the five years,” he said.

Gerald Power was just 107 votes behind Glenn Taylor, the final councillor elected, but was already primed for 2020. 

“I’m hoping to do a better job at showcasing agenda items we want to push,” he said. 

Ungrouped candidate Gail Copping, who was excluded at the 72nd round, said it was a tough election to be in the far right column.

“We got lost in the system,” she said. 

“They say if you can’t beat them, join them – maybe I’ll run an all-girl team [in 2020],” she said. 

Sole female mayoral candidate Paula Townsend was disappointed with the result. 

“I thought Orange was ready for some serious change, but they voted in the same people,” she said. 

She thought more female leadership would have led to a more decisive council.

“The Robertson Park toilets would have been done and dusted and needed maintenance by now,” she said.

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