JOHN Burt has quit Ballarat City Council, effective immediately.
The former mayor, who was elected to Central Ward in October 2012, handed his resignation to City of Ballarat chief executive officer Anthony Schinck on Monday.
Mr Burt’s decision will not trigger a by-election, however, with his position as a councillor for Central Ward to be taken based on a countback of the previous council elections in 2012.
The leading candidate for the vacant seat based on first preferences was another former mayor Mark Harris with 2379 votes ahead of Glen Crompton with 1337.
However, Mr Harris said the distribution of preferences was unlikely to favour him.
He said he would prefer not to speculate on being elevated to the council until the Victorian Electoral Commission had completed the process of determining the successful candidate.
“I’d consider it. I considered it at the time and I haven’t changed my view in that regard,” Mr Harris said.
“The way it cascades down I’m not sure I’m the candidate. I don’t think the distribution of preferences would necessarily favour me, so it is best not to speculate.”
Mr Burt has been embroiled in controversy after it was revealed he told four councillors a Liberal Party-aligned mayor would be to the Ballarat’s advantage with a Coalition government in office at state level.
Ballarat West Labor MP Sharon Knight grilled Victorian Premier Denis Napthine in Parliament on May 7 – the same day as the state budget – if he had sought to ensure a Liberal Party member was elected as mayor.
Dr Napthine flatly denied the suggestion and Mr Burt last week confirmed he had discussed the matter, not the Premier.
The Courier attempted to contact Mr Burt and chief executive officer Anthony Schinck on Monday night but they did not return calls.