ORANGE residents could be better represented if the mayor’s role was full time with an equivalent wage, according to one Orange councillor.
Cr Jason Hamling believes council should expand the mayor’s role if September’s referendum for a popularly-elected mayor is successful.
“It gives a city the size of Orange a certainty that there would be someone at every function,” he said.
“With a popularly-elected mayor you know it was for a four year term so you could put them on a four-year contract.”
He said the current system where the mayor was paid a fee for his services doesn’t go far enough and makes full-time workers less likely to run for council.
“For someone like myself who works for a company I don’t think I’d find the time to do it,” he said.
“It’s OK if you’ve got your own business or you’re retired but for someone who is an employee it’s hard.”
Cr Hamling said he probably wouldn’t consider running for mayor even under the system he proposes.
“But that’s at this stage,” he said.
“You never know in the future.”
Mayor John Davis said the mayor’s role could be made full time even if the councillor-elected mayor system stays in place following the referendum.
“The best part about that [having a full-time mayor] is that it means everyone within the community could actually be mayor,” he said.
“There are lots of times where it makes it difficult ... for example for a woman to be mayor, if she’s got a family and children it makes it difficult.”
Cr Davis said he spent 50 to 60 per cent or more of his week on council duties.
“It’s not a nine to five job, far from it,” he said.
“But I wouldn’t say it’s hard and it’s very rewarding.”
Cr Davis said if the role was made full time it would need to have full-time pay as the mayor would work harder.
“A council with a $100 million budget is worthy of a full-time mayor,” he said.