Maitland councillor Philip Penfold has resigned as secretary manager of Maitland Park Bowling Club to focus full-time on being elected as mayor at September’s council election.
“The role and campaign deserve my full-time attention so I’ve given my resignation to the club,” Cr Penfold said at the official launch of his campaign at the bowling club on Sunday.
Cr Penfold, who will continue as patron of the club, said resigning from his full-time role “wasn't a hard choice” and was “a risk I'm willing to take”.
“It’s important to the people of Maitland that I give this my full attention,” he said.
The North Ward councillor will run on the Penfold ticket with wife and current West Ward councillor Nicole Penfold, as well as Mike Yarrington, Bill Hackney and Peter Garnham.
Cr Penfold said mayor Peter Blackmore’s decision to retire after more than 20 years on council opened an opportunity for a “new generation" of community representatives.
“Peter has done a good job, but Maitland is ready for new leadership,” he said.
“The current crop of councillors are very inclined and encouraged by the mayor to do what is recommended to them. I want to see a council that will focus on what the people want.”
Cr Penfold said that improved roads and recreational areas would be a focus of the six-week campaign leading up to the election.
Car parking in the CBD will also be a major focus, with Cr Penfold last month opening debate on building a multi-level park in Elgin Street. He said it was important that projects such as the car park reflected the wishes of the community.
“It’s the people’s money and we need to spend it wisely,” he said.
If elected, it will be Cr Penfold’s third term on council after first being elected in 2008.
He ran for mayor in 2012, winning 21 per cent of the vote compared to Cr Blackmore’s 53.8 per cent.
He’ll be joined in the mayoral race by the ALP’s Loretta Baker, the Greens’ John Brown and Independent Brian Burke.