'Sad' cr quits for a gamble

FORMER mayor Peter Dunn will resign from Benalla Council just two months after attracting the third-highest number of votes at a municipal election.

The solicitor yesterday said that “new opportunities” had arisen, leading him to close his business of 13 years, Peter S Dunn & Associates, and leave his position on the council.

“Yes, I am taking a gamble, but I am confident it’s the right decision,” he said yesterday.

“I am sad to go, very sad to go, in fact.

“I still feel I have plenty to offer, but if opportunity knocks you have to grasp it.”

Cr Dunn’s Church Street business will close at the end of next month and his resignation from the council, after seven years of service, is effective from January 16.

He said he could not disclose information about his new venture until early February.

“The resignation is purely and simply because an offer has been made to me and these people have made it quite clear that those roles are inconsistent with being a councillor at Benalla,” Cr Dunn said.

“I’m hoping this new venture will be more flexible and allow me to serve my community in different ways.”

Cr Dunn stepped in as mayor last June when his predecessor Bill Hill suffered a stroke.

He was elected to the role two months later after Mr Hill officially stepped down, but did not put his hand up again for the top job in October.

A countback of votes from the October election will determine Cr Dunn’s replacement, meaning a re-election is not required.

Cr Dunn’s 1227 first preference votes will be recounted to find whether candidates Ellen Crocker or Andrew Vale received the highest number.

In the October election, Ms Crocker received 504 first preference votes and Mr Vale received 323.

But Victorian Electoral Commission senior communications officer Thomas Harper said those votes would not contribute to the countback as per a legislative rule.

The countback will be held on January 17.