It’s work, family first as Coote calls it quits

BIG DECISION: Deputy mayor Michael Coote, pictured with mayor Graeme Hanger in March, says he will miss being on council.

BIG DECISION: Deputy mayor Michael Coote, pictured with mayor Graeme Hanger in March, says he will miss being on council.

DEPUTY mayor Michael Coote will not contest the Bathurst Regional Council election in September due to work commitments.

He will remain on council until the election but has shelved his plans to seek another term.

Cr Coote, who became deputy mayor in March following the resignation of Gary Rush from council, had been touted as a future mayor of the region.

But he was left with no choice but to walk away from council after a promotion and new contract with his employer, Adecco, explicitly refused him the option of outside employment or public office.

He said he had been honoured to serve as a councillor and would miss working in the role, but had to put providing for his family ahead of serving the city.

“We’ve had our challenges but I think this has been a fairly successful and progressive council,” he said.

“I’ve been proud of the work we’ve done on the promotion of tourism, the great bicentenary we put on and the winter festival, and we’ve really made massive inroads into the second racing circuit and Velocity Park which I really want to see keep going.

“I would like to have still been on council to see that unveiled.”

Cr Coote urged people to put their hand up to run for council in September and said there was a need for some new faces.

He has become the third of the current crop of councillors – along with Gary Rush and Monica Morse – to publicly state they would not be seeking re-election, clearing the way for some newcomers.

“We need business people with a business mind and business sense,” he said.

“At the end of the day this is a business, only we have a city to run as well.

“We need people who will challenge the hierarchy of council because that’s what we’re here to do.”

Cr Coote was elected to council in 2012.

Bathurst residents will go to the polls for local government elections on Saturday, September 9.

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