Up­roar over mayor vote

LA­BOR WINS BACK­ING OF A FOR­MER LIB­ERAL

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Nick Houghton and Ian Pater­son What should our may­ors be fo­cus­ing on go­ing for­ward? @the­druitt

STEPHEN Bali will re­main Black­town’s mayor af­ter be­ing re-elected at an ex­plo­sive coun­cil meet­ing which saw the newly elected deputy mayor la­belled a “dis­grace”.

Cr Bali won the may­oral elec­tion 8-7 over Lib­eral coun­cil­lor Jess Diaz.

Cr Diaz hurled abuse at Cr Jac­que­line Don­ald­son af­ter she quit the Lib­er­als to be­come an in­de­pen­dent coun­cil­lor.

It proved to be a ma­jor turn­ing point and pro­vided Cr Bali with the ma­jor­ity vote.

Cr Diaz ex­ploded into a tirade against his for­mer col­league.

“This is a dis­grace,” he said. “She was elected by the vot­ers as a Lib­eral and has now turned her back.”

Cr Bali was forced into his first ac­tion of his sec­ond term as mayor and ejected Cr Diaz for the at­tack. Af­ter the meet­ing, Cr Bali branded the ac­tions of Cr Diaz as dis­grace­ful.

He said Cr Diaz should have con­ducted him­self more like ousted prime min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott who “went out with dig­nity and grace’’.

“It was a sad mo­ment for Black­town,’’ Cr Bali said.

De­spite the in­ci­dent, Cr Bali was de­lighted to have been given a sec­ond term in of­fice.

“I am hon­oured to have been re-elected mayor of Black­town City Coun­cil,” he said.

“With the new in­de­pen­dent coun­cil­lor Jac­que­line Don­ald­son as my deputy, I am con­fi­dent we will have a sta­ble coun­cil mak­ing pos­i­tive de­ci­sions for the ben­e­fit of the com­mu­nity.’’

Mean­while, Pen­rith Coun­cil’s may­oral elec­tion was with­out in­ci­dent.

South Ward coun­cil­lor Karen McKe­own was given the top job, with for­mer mayor Ross Fowler step­ping into the deputy role.

“I am ec­static and hum­bled to be elected mayor and it is a great priv­i­lege,” Cr McKe­own said.

Cr Fowler con­grat­u­lated his suc­ces­sor.

“You have joined an il­lus­tri­ous group be­ing only the fifth fe­male mayor of Pen­rith,” Cr Fowler said.

With the new in­de­pen­dent coun­cil­lor Jac­que­line Don­ald­son as my deputy, I am con­fi­dent we will have a sta­ble coun­cil mak­ing pos­i­tive de­ci­sions ...

– MAYOR STEPHEN BALI

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