Newcastle councillor Andrea Rufo has confirmed he won't contest the September election and will retire after nine years of service.
Cr Rufo was elected to council in Ward 3 in 2012. He served as deputy lord mayor in 2014 and 2015, and was reelected in 2017. He said it had "been an honour" to serve the "residents of Ward 3 and of Newcastle as a whole".
"I have had the opportunity to work with many dedicated individuals within council and I thank them for their commitment and help over the years," Cr Rufo said.
He nominated voting for Newcastle's ANZAC Walk, campaigning for two bronze kangaroos to be placed at the Lambton Park Memorial Gates, and excavating and burying a park time capsule as his fondest memories.
Cr Rufo is part of the Newcastle Independents alliance with John Church, Kath Elliott and Allan Robinson. Cr Church said Cr Rufo's commitment to his community was "a true testament to his character". "He is a true independent, and man of high principles. He will be missed in the chamber," he said.
Dave Wild, a former long-serving police officer and prosecutor, has been locked in as Newcastle Independents' Ward 3 candidate for the upcoming election.
The 53-year-old father of five said he was eager to give back to the community and had strong ties with local sport as a rugby league referee and cricket umpire.
"I want to see Lambton Pool fixed," he said of his council ambitions. "I have mapped the entirety of Ward 3, walked through every park and street, and I've found a myriad of issues which, in some cases, are dangerous, and in almost every case, easily fixable. I'm also keen to work with sporting groups on improving amenities, many of which are long overdue."
Ward 3 includes Birmingham Gardens, Callaghan, Georgetown, Jesmond, Hamilton North, Kotara, Lambton, New Lambton, New Lambton Heights, North Lambton, Rankin Park, Waratah, Waratah West and part of Wallsend.
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