Uproar over mayor vote
LABOR WINS BACKING OF A FORMER LIBERAL
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