Newcastle lord mayor Jeff resigns over donations under ICAC scrutiny

Jeff McCloy has resigned as lord mayor of Newcastle.
Jeff McCloy has resigned as lord mayor of Newcastle.

NEWCASTLE voters will face three elections over the next sevens months, with mayor Jeff McCloy the latest scalp in the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigation into illegal donations.

On Sunday Mr McCloy sent an official letter of resignation to Newcastle council general manager Ken Gouldthorp, effective immediately.

Mr McCloy said the controversy surrounding donations he made in the lead-up to the 2011 NSW elections "may affect the proper functioning of Newcastle City Council".

He said he was leaving Newcastle in better shape, both financially and physically, than what it was before he started.

Mr Gouldthorp said Mr McCloy's leadership would be "sorely missed".

Evidence given at the ICAC over the past few weeks has been that Mr McCloy illegally donated money to the campaigns of state MPs Andrew Cornwell and Tim Owen, who have now resigned from the seats of Charlestown and Newcastle respectively.

Mr McCloy also said he gave "about $1500" to Swansea state MP Garry Edwards for his campaign and wrote another cheque for $10,000 to pay for Newcastle Liberal staffers.

Premier Mike Baird called for Mr McCloy to resign on Sunday.

With local council elections not scheduled for more than 18 months, the Local Government Act calls for a byelection to held within the next three months for a new lord mayor.

Deputy mayor Brad Luke will fill in as mayor in the meantime.

State byelections for the seats of Newcastle and Charlestown will be held on Saturday, October 25.

The Liberal Party said it would not recontest the seats at the byelection.