LAKE Macquarie City Council could be facing a byelection with the resignation of Alice Springs-based Cr Arnold Tammekand.
Mayor Greg Piper confirmed at last night’s council meeting that Cr Tammekand had written to him offering his resignation.
Cr Tammekand’s departure could be the first of a series of changes in the council, with Cr Piper and independent Paul Scarfe both confirming they were intending to stand down at the end of their terms in September next year.
Cr Piper won a second term in the state seat of Lake Macquarie on Saturday and deputy mayor Garry Edwards, below, is set to be the new Liberal member for Swansea.
Labor councillor Daniel Wallace said having the mayor and deputy mayor doing ‘‘two jobs’’ was likely to hamper council efficiency but Cr Piper and Cr Edwards said their parliamentary jobs could only help the ocuncil and its ratepayers, especially as their council roles were part-time jobs.
Cr Edwards said he intended staying on the council and might even seek another term next year.
Cr Wallace said Cr Piper’s state duties had slowed progress on some council business ‘‘especially in the past few months’’.
But Cr Piper disputed this, saying there was no evidence that ‘‘anything was not dealt with in a timely manner’’.
Cr Tammekand’s extended absence was controversial from the time it emerged he was moving to Alice Springs for a new job in December 2009.
Cr Piper said last night Cr Tammekand had written that missing a council meeting he had planned to attend had ‘‘caused him to come to the conclusion it will not be tenable for him to continue as a councillor’’.
Cr Tammekand intended to be at the May 2 council meeting, where he would ‘‘deal with outstanding matters’’.
Cr Piper said a byelection in Cr Tammekand’s west ward would cost about $100,000 while Cr Wallace said it would be about $200,000.
‘‘It could be a byelection but I think we should draw breath on that for a while and we will talk to the department of local government about the options,’’ he said.
Cr Piper said he would probably stand down at the September 2012 council election after 21 years in local government.
‘‘I think I’ve managed the workload between the state and council roles for the benefit of the city but there has been a reduced time with my family,’’ Cr Piper said.
Cr Scarfe said it was ‘‘no secret’’ he did not intend to seek another term and believed it was time to make way for a younger generation of councillors.