Maitland Mayor Peter Blackmore is throwing his weight behind ALP mayoral candidate Loretta Baker as his preferred successor.
In an unprecedented move Cr Blackmore, who will not seek re-election at the September 9 local government poll, has made a video touting Cr Baker as “an ideal choice” to take over the mayoral reins.
In the 30-second video he said Cr Baker works hard in the community and in her role with health and believes she would have the ideal demeanor to be the city’s first female mayor.
Cr Baker said she and the mayor have worked well together over the past 10 years.
"There are times when we've disagreed on things, that's to be expected, but we've always had a very constructive relationship based on delivering what's best for Maitland,” Cr Baker said.
“After 20 years in the job, Peter Blackmore knows what it takes to be mayor. He has led a stable and successful council, and that's what I'll deliver as mayor as well.
"My vision is for a stronger, safer, fairer and more prosperous Maitland, and I'm very grateful for Peter's support and encouragement,” she said.
Cr Blackmore said Maitland is in the fortunate position in that any of his former deputies would make suitable mayors, but Cr Baker had attributes that strongly suited her to the job. “But any of the councillors who have served as my deputy would do the job well,” Cr Blackmore said.
Cr Blackmore, former Liberal Member for Maitland, disagreed that his endorsement was unusual and said who better than the incumbent mayor to have a view on his replacement.
Asked if he will vote for Cr Baker, the mayor said he would keep that to himself.
“A person’s vote is a private right but whoever becomes mayor, I would wish them the enjoyment I have experienced and the pride I have in council, its staff and the community. We have female State and Federal members so perhaps a first female mayor could also be considered should the electors decide,” he said.