OUR SAY: Council needs to put the city’s interests ahead of all others

When the Electoral Commission’s computer stopped spinning the numbers and started spitting out the names of our next councillors on Thursday night it created an interesting mix.

The 12 people who will form Orange City Council come from a variety of lifestyle and political backgrounds.

New mayor Reg Kidd will have an interesting task attempting to unite his team to focus on making Orange better.

For starters, he has been elected by the people, and not by his council.

It’s the first time Orange has voted for a popularly elected mayor.

Cr Kidd said it was not something he voted for but he has accepted it and in the end gained from it by winning back the role of mayor for the first time since 2008-2009.

He said a key message for all councillors was to remind them to put aside political alliances as their priority was Orange.

“We want the best for Orange, not NSW or Australia. It’s about our patch,” he said.

The new council will have three people who stood as representatives of political parties.

Sam Romano and Mario Previtera stood under the Shooters, Farmers and Fishers party banner while Stephen Nugent represented the Greens.

Several other councillors have allegiances to political parties but stood as independents in the election.

In an ideal world there would be no party political ties in council elections.

There would be no tickets, no above the line voting and instead candidates would stand on their own merits.

But that ideal disappeared from local government elections a long time ago.

Ratepayers and residents judged the previous council on what they did for Orange.

There was both criticism and praise for land purchases, for industrial rezoning, for money spent on projects including the Northern Distributor Road and for a lack of money spent on roads and footpaths.

Councillors and staff became embroiled in code of conduct procedures and council was criticised for not being transparent.

The new council will also be judged on its performance for Orange rather than on wider issues.

There is a very good reason why it is called ‘local’ government.

In a world of  billion dollar projects many people in Orange would be happy just to see a toilet block in Robertson Park.


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