New role forces councillor to quit

Cr Greg Martin, who has served as a Cobar Shire councillor for the past 14 years, will be forced to resign due to his acceptance of employment as a district officer with the Rural Fire Service (RFS).

Mr Martin said RFS employees are not permitted to hold the position of councillor.

“Under the Rural Fire Act I can’t hold a position on council, as I may be called upon to act as a fire control officer or deputy fire control officer which would be a conflict with council,” Cr Martin explained.

Cr Martin said when he applied for the position he was not aware that he would have to resign from council.

“It was a hard decision, I have really enjoyed my time with council.”

Cr Martin’s resignation will mean council will have to call a by-election.

Council’s general manager Peter Vlatko said a by-election could cost council up to $30,000 to hold, depending upon how many candidates nominate for the position.

“It goes to the NSW Electoral Commission and they have to prepare everything as if it were a normal election but you’ve only got one vacancy instead of 12.

“Even if we only get one nominee and it doesn’t have to go to a vote, it will still cost about $16,000 to $20,000,” Mr Vlatko estimated.

During his 14 years of office, Cr Martin served as deputy mayor for two years under Mayor Lilliane Brady.

“I was also acting mayor when Doc Brady passed away and I can recall one of my most memorable duties was to naturalise some people as Australian citizens,” he said.

Cr Martin said when he first put his hand up for council he felt that being a local and working as a highway patrol officer, he had something to bring to the table.

“From a road safety aspect I wanted to improve things in our area and I was instrumental in the upgrades to Florida and Meadow Glen rest area and toilets. I also worked with RMS to get the truck bay west of Cobar, and new rest area at Lilyvale complete with toilets.”

He also coordinated Cobar’s Clean Up Australia Day campaign for three years.

Cr Martin said in his time he’s seen a lot of changes in council’s governance with better procedures and more accountability and was pleased to see improvements made to the pool, roads and council equipment.