BATHURST’S new state MP will retire from teaching but will stay on as mayor until at least September.
The Nationals’ Paul Toole ended the Labor Party’s 16-year reign in Bathurst with an emphatic victory at the state election on Saturday.
As he settled in to his new role yesterday, Cr Toole said he would not subject Bathurst ratepayers to a $200,000 council by-election.
Instead he will remain on Bathurst Regional Council until the next local government elections in September 2012. He will not stand for re-election at that time.
“I will fulfil my commitment as mayor until September when we have our mayoral election. In the coming months I will make a decision on whether I run for mayor again at that time,” Cr Toole said.
“To leave council before 2012 would result in a by-election and that would not be in the best interest of the community.”
Cr Toole would not be drawn on which of his colleagues would make a good mayor if he stands down in September.
“This is a very good council, a stable council with lots of hard-working members,” he said. “I am sure the majority would have the skills to do the job.”
Cr Toole will, however, resign from his teaching position at the Assumption School. This would have been his 20th year of teaching and his 17th at Assumption.
He has been teaching part-time since taking on the mayoral role and has been on leave since the start of his political campaign.
“After 20 years of teaching I will resign,” Cr Toole said. “This will free up more of my time.
“I have absolutely loved being a school teacher and having that opportunity to make a difference to young people’s lives.
“I have enjoyed working with my coll-eagues and families at the school and wish to pay tribute to everyone in the school community for all their support and patience with me over the years.”
Cr Toole said the next few months would show what kind of time commitment is needed in his role as an MP.
He said he wants to be sure his family doesn’t suffer as a result of his decision to enter political life.
“My family is very important to me and I am grateful to my wife Jo for her support in this endeavour,” he said. “I want to ensure I still have some time with my family because my children are very young.”
Cr Toole said as mayor he knows he may have to delegate some community events if he is to do both jobs, adding that deputy mayor Ian North has been very supportive.
He added he also has eight terrific councillors and he may need to delegate a few more activities and community functions to them.
“I can see many benefits in having a dual role,” Cr Toole said. “It’s not the first time this has happened. Within the previous government there were five MPs who were also mayors. I understand they have been re-elected.
“There are also a number of newly elected MPs who hold the role of mayor.”
Cr Toole said one of his first duties would be to visit other cities and towns within the electorate.