Shellharbour Deputy Mayor Paul Rankin has survived a no confidence motion, albeit thanks to his own casting vote.
With Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba on leave, Cr Rankin chaired Tuesday night’s council meeting.
Councillors were split 3-3 on whether to support Cr Kellie Marsh’s notice of motion of no confidence in Cr Rankin, a motion sparked by an incident at a recent community meeting where Cr Rankin publicly threatened his former Liberal running mate, Harry Gooden.
Cr Marsh said her motion was ‘‘in no way a personal attack or a political attack’’ on Cr Rankin. ‘‘What this is about is that we had a resident, a senior citizen – yes, Mr Gooden has a precious place in my heart – but he was threatened at a public meeting by the Deputy Mayor and the office of Deputy Mayor was brought into disrepute,’’ Cr Marsh said.
‘‘We need to send a clear message to seniors and community that we don’t condone this.’’
Cr Peter Moran and Cr Helen Stewart supported the motion, with Cr Stewart telling Cr Rankin it was ‘‘a case of big foot in big mouth’’, but she added that once it was dealt with, all councillors should move on.
Before the motion was debated, council staff said it would have ‘‘no legal or official effect’’, other than being noted in the minutes.
Cr John Murray said there was no provision in the Local Government Act or the council’s code of conduct for such a motion.
Despite being the subject of the motion, Cr Rankin did not declare an interest, because under the council’s code of conduct, the matter was not ‘‘a private interest’’ where he would benefit from a third party, but was a motion that related to Cr Rankin carrying out his public duty.
Meantime, council staff said the extra security present at Tuesday night’s meeting was not a result of any threats made to councillors, but rather to assist people should a large crowd attend the meeting.
About 100 people attended the council meeting earlier in the month, but a safety review had since reduced the number of people who could be present in the chamber from 110 to 75.
The extra security was about the council making provisions to accommodate people outside, although only 40 people were present on Tuesday.
Cr Rankin told Tuesday night’s meeting he had recently been the subject of an anonymous physical threat.
‘‘I had a phone call from a blocked caller who said he knows who I am and said if I ever cross his path I’d better watch out as he was a lot bigger than Harry Gooden,’’ Cr Rankin said.
‘‘I reported it to the Mayor and general manager.
‘‘If it happens, again I will report it to police.’’