Rankin's mayoral move labelled 'treacherous'

Deputy Mayor Paul Rankin and Mayor Marianne Saliba. Picture: DYLAN ROBINSON
Deputy Mayor Paul Rankin and Mayor Marianne Saliba. Picture: DYLAN ROBINSON

Shellharbour councillor Paul Rankin could face suspension from the Liberal Party after again defying Liberal colleagues and contesting Shellharbour City's mayoral vote.

Labor councillor and former state MP Marianne Saliba will serve as Shellharbour mayor for a second year after Shellharbour's two Liberal councillors, Cr Rankin and Kellie Marsh, once again split the non-ALP vote.

Cr Rankin's move was described as "treacherous" by local Liberal Party member Harry Gooden.

Tuesday night's vote echoed the dramatic events of the 2012 mayoral vote when Cr Marsh was ousted from the mayoral chair after just one year in the role.

This time Cr Saliba was elected mayor with the support of fellow Labor councillors John Murray and David Boyle.

Independent councillor Helen Stewart supported Cr Rankin while independent councillor Peter Moran supported Cr Marsh.

Cr Rankin again won the deputy mayoral position, beating Cr Moran in a 5-2 vote.

Cr Moran said he believed a deal had been done by the Liberal councillors through head office to have Kellie Marsh contest the mayoral ballot.

He nominated for deputy mayor because he "could not vote for Paul Rankin".

Cr Rankin said he had spoken to a lot of people in the Shellharbour community who thought he was the best person to run.

"I've had no comment from the Liberal Party, I'm more concerned with what the residents think and I think the residents would be happy with this outcome," he said.

"It is a stable council, Marianne and I work well together. We have our disagreements but we are a council that is moving forward."

When asked if Cr Marsh would have expected him to stand for mayor, Cr Rankin said "probably not".

"I think Kellie had her sights set on the top job."

He said he did not fear repercussions from the Liberal Party as he had only done what he felt the community wanted.

Cr Marsh did not want to comment on Cr Rankin.

"I wish Councillor Saliba the best of luck for the next 12 months," Cr Marsh said.

However, Mr Gooden said Cr Marsh had every reason to be upset and called for the Liberal Party to take action against Cr Rankin for his "treacherous behaviour" as it should have done last year.

"We go back to the debacle last year when Cr Rankin informed Cr Marsh at the tea break that Kellie wouldn't be getting his vote," Mr Gooden said.

"Now the same thing has happened.

"Is Paul Rankin a 100 per cent Liberal member or is he just playing his part with the opposition to keep his cherished deputy mayor position?"

Mr Gooden said the Liberal Party was behind Cr Marsh.


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