Shellharbour councillors have vowed to work together, despite the fractured relationship between two of them.
However, one councillor fears the council could revert to the “bad old days” of the sacked 2008 council.
Tuesday night’s meeting was the first meeting following Deputy Mayor Paul Rankin’s decision to quit the Liberal Party.
Cr Rankin will serve out the remaining three years of his term as an independent.
This leaves Shellharbour with three Labor councillors, three independents and one Liberal.
Independent councillor Peter Moran said Cr Rankin “showed his true colours” on Tuesday night.
“He might be an independent in name only, but indicated he’d support the Labor Party [by the way he voted],” Cr Moran said.
“Given that it appears that Labor will now have the numbers to do whatever they want…there is a real risk we could fall back into that [former dysfunctional council].’’
Liberal councillor Kellie Marsh said she would “work with anybody…for the benefit of the community”.
“The relationship with Cr Rankin and I, it’s obviously been fractured.’’
Cr Rankin described his first meeting as an independent as feeling “good, but it’s all about the job”.
“If she [Cr Marsh] brings a good motion to the floor I’ll support it, but apart from that there’s no relationship there,” he said.
Mayor Marianne Saliba didn’t believe the new make-up would affect council’s co-operative approach. “We currently work co-operatively and I think that we’ll continue to vote on issues, not on party politics,” Cr Saliba said.