ORANGE'S first indigenous councillor could also be its first indigenous deputy mayor with Gerald Power signalling his intention to nominate for the role.
The incoming Orange City Council will hold its first meeting on Tuesday at which its 12 members will be sworn in before the deputy mayor is elected for a term lasting until September.
Cr Power, who was one of eight new faces elected at December's local government election, this week said he had the experience to deputise for Mayor Jason Hamling.
"After reading through the roles and responsibilities, it's really just to fill in," Cr Power said.
"Understanding that, I feel it's a simple job and having my experience around presidency and chairperson of multiple organisations, I think it's pretty easy to do."
Cr Power, a former government employee who now runs his own tourism business Indigenous Cultural Adventures, will join returning councillors Tony Mileto, Kevin Duffy and Jeff Whitton in the deputy mayor election while Cr Steven Peterson, another newcomer, hasn't ruled out a tilt at the position.
"I think it's best to wait and see how the orientation goes between Friday and Monday," Cr Peterson said.
"I think that's where I should be focusing my efforts and attention anyway."
At this stage, of the new group only Cr Power and Cr Peterson expressed an interest in the position.
Cr Jack Evans, who is also the chairperson of Business Orange, said he had enough on his plate while Cr Tammy Greenhalgh said she felt the position should go to someone with more experience, a sentiment echoed by Cr Frances Kinghorne, who added her current heavy work load as a community pharmacist made it impractical.
Cr David Mallard was also bypassing the election as were Cr Glenn Floyd and Cr Melanie McDonell although the latter said she would like to see a new face take on the role.
Cr McDonell also said she would consider trying for the role in the future.
In pitching their bids for deputy mayor, Crs Mileto, Duffy and Whitton all said experience was an advantage.
Cr Tony Mileto ran a close second to Cr Hamling in the mayoral election and said he would welcome the opportunity to deputise.
"Cr Hamling and I had a discussion [during the polling], it didn't matter who won we would support each other and I stand by that," he said.
"I think it's important for Orange moving forward to support each other, support the new councillors and make Orange as productive as we can."
Kevin Duffy said Cr Hamling's recent illness, which forced him to isolate for a fortnight, was evidence experience was necessary.
"There's all sorts of issues that can happen, like today [Australia Day], with Jason having to be off sick so we need people with experience to step in. I think it's extremely important especially in the current climate."
Cr Whitton, alongside Cr Hamling, is the longest-serving member of the incoming chamber having been elected in 2004.
The election for deputy mayor is conducted in a drop-off style count, with the candidate with the lowest number of votes eliminated each round.
The last first-time councillor elected deputy mayor was Jo McRae who filled the role in 2017-18.
"I would encourage any first-term councillor to consider the role, and if not for themselves, then to really consider who they think will do a good job representing Orange in the mayor's absence," she said.
"Contenders need to consider the potential time commitment and also their confidence in running meetings, attending events (council, public and community) and also engaging with the media."
Cr McRae also hoped political gamesmanship was left at the door on Tuesday night.
"I hope that the new council will elect a deputy who can compliment and support Mayor Hamling, not undermine or threaten his leadership."
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