Shellharbour councillor Kellie Marsh says her Liberal colleague, Paul Rankin, broke a signed agreement when he contested Shellharbour City Council's mayoral vote this week.
Labor's Marianne Saliba was re-elected Shellharbour mayor on Tuesday with the support of her two fellow Labor councillors after Shellharbour's two Liberal councillors, Cr Rankin and Cr Marsh, both challenged for the position, splitting the non-ALP vote.
Cr Marsh said by standing, Cr Rankin broke an agreement drawn up between the Liberal Party's head office and "local" party members.
"I have it in writing that Paul Rankin would vote for me and not stand for mayor ... it is in black and white," Cr Marsh said.
"I was looked at as the best person for mayor and that was what the party and supporters wanted.
"Unfortunately, Paul Rankin has not only deceived myself - again - but deceived the party, members and supporters in the community."
Cr Marsh said Cr Rankin had never spoken to her about any issues he had with her, saying he had "delusions of grandeur".
Cr Rankin confirmed he had reached an agreement with Cr Marsh, and previously publicly denied it because it was "a private agreement". However, Cr Rankin said the agreement was leaked by Cr Marsh to independent councillor Peter Moran before Tuesday night's vote.
"Once that agreement was leaked, it was no longer acceptable for me," Cr Rankin said.
"The reason I had said there was no agreement is because it was supposed to be a private deal ... you don't leak private deals."
Cr Moran said he didn't see how Cr Marsh telling him something "nullified anything that had been signed".
"If Cr Marsh did tell me, she did so because she was trying to secure my support for the mayoral vote," Cr Moran said.
Cr Rankin faces suspension or expulsion from the Liberal Party and expects to know his fate next week. Liberal state director Mark Neeham was unavailable for comment yesterday.
Meantime, Shellharbour MP Anna Watson weighed into council affairs by calling on the two Liberal councillors "to sort out their differences for the good of the local Shellharbour community".
"This continued turmoil over the inability of the two Liberal councillors to work out who will be the mayoral candidate every year is becoming a joke," Ms Watson said.
"There are only two Liberals on the council - how hard can it really be for them to decide which one will be the candidate each year?"
Ms Watson said she still believed that the mayoral position should be determined directly by the people of Shellharbour at a direct election.