Rob Wright

Ex-mayor comments if he'll run at potential by-election

SOME of the Fraser Coast's former mayoral candidates haven't ruled out running in a potential by-election should the region go back to the polls.

It follows mayor Chris Loft being arrested and charged by the Crime and Corruption Commission last Thursday for corruption offences.

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On Friday, Fraser Coast council said Cr Loft would remain as the mayor of the Fraser Coast unless Local Government Minister Mark Furner stands the mayor down or the mayor decides to stand down during the investigation.

Cr Loft's lawyer Angelo Venardos confirmed his client planned to fight the charges.

Should Cr Loft resign ahead of his court date next month, a by-election would be triggered to determine a new mayor of the Fraser Coast.

Gerard O'Connell was defeated at the polls by Cr Loft last year in March and told the Chronicle he has no plans to return to politics.

The now commercial manager for Fraser Coast Anglican College said he had accepted the decision of voters 18 months ago and had "moved on".

"I'm enjoying my new career in business and have even been able to get involved in other charities and not-for-profit organisations," Mr O'Connell said.

"I'm also enjoying... the additional time I have with my wife and family."

Former mayoral candidate Greg Schmidt said he had intentions of "being involved at the next election, mayoral or divisional."

"It's only if I had sponsorship, I wouldn't do it out of my own pocket, it's not realistic," Mr Schmidt said.

Steve Coleman, who placed third in the 2016 mayoral race, said he would consider another run depending on the timing.

In September, Cr Loft was given a final warning by Local Government Minister Mark Furner amid allegations of council misconduct.



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