Deputy mayor Dallas Tout has confirmed he will be standing for a third term on Wagga City Council and holds an interest in filling the the soon-to-be vacant position of mayor should he be reelected.
"If I'm successful in being elected again by the community, I will be throwing my hat in the ring for the position of mayor," Councillor Tout said.
Cr Tout was first elected to Wagga City Council in 2012 and held onto his position in the 2016 election. He was voted in as mayor Greg Conkey's deputy in 2014 and has maintained the position ever since.
Cr Tout has not stood for the position of mayor in the past, and was widely regarded as Cr Conkey's right-hand man, but with the current mayor out of the race, his deputy is ready to step up.
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"Up until now my work hasn't allowed me to take on an opportunity such as [the mayor's role] but there is an opportunity in the next 12 or 18 months where I may be able to ... take on an increasing role," he said.
One councillor who would have the long-time deputy's back should he be re-elected is Cr Tim Koschel, who said he has pushed Cr Tout to take on the role in the past and would back him again.
"I would back Dallas for mayor tomorrow if he runs again," Cr Koschel said.
"I urged Dallas to run in the last election and I would have backed him before if he stood. Dallas is a real, true independent thinker ... he'll vote for everything on merit."
No other councillors have yet confirmed their interest in the top job, but Cr Tout said he is currently focusing on being re-elected for what would be his third term on Wagga's council, having also served on the Gundagai Shire Council for 12 years between 1996 and 2008.
"A lot of the work the last term or two has been foundation work," Cr Tout said.
"The Active Travel Plan is just about done. The levee, the main one is done but not North Wagga, there's a lot of projects that need finishing.
"There's a lot of foundation work that we've done with regards to big projects and policies that I want to see to completion."
He echoed calls from council this year for a more diverse range of candidates to come forward, though he said ultimately voters are the major deciding factor in who gets elected.
"The community vote the council in," Cr Tout said.
"It's a culmination of factors, it is the breadth of candidates who stand, but also the voting behaviour of the community when electing those councillors."
Wagga's mayor is voted in every two years by the nine elected councillors, though this year the community will vote on a referendum that could see the process change to a popular vote at the next council elections in four years time.
Though Mayor Conkey was voted in in September last year, with the delayed election and his retirement from local politics a new mayor and deputy are expected to be voted in at the first council meeting following this September's General Election.
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