Wollongong ushered in a new era last night as democracy returned to the region, but with it came a surprise face installed as the city's second in command.Labor councillor David Brown beat Liberal John Dorahy for the role of deputy lord mayor in a tight race that came down to pure luck.Five councillors contested the position, with independents Greg Petty, Vicki Curran and Greens councillor Jill Merrin cancelled out after receiving the fewest votes in consecutive open votes.Cr Brown and Cr Dorahy, considered the favourite to take out the position, were tied six votes each at the final raising of hands after Cr Petty abstained from casting a vote.In accordance with local government voting rules, the two candidates' names were then placed in a box and Cr Brown's was drawn out to be declared the winner."I'm very pleased to have been voted into the position," he said."I hope to bring my experience to the council, councillors and the mayor."We've got some big issues to discuss in the near future but I think we've got a great mix of skills sets on this council to tackle those issues."Mr Brown will hold the position for a 12-month period.Cr Dorahy told the Mercury he was disappointed Cr Petty refused to cast a vote, believing those who voted him into the council would feel the same way."I think Ward 1 will be disappointed with the fact that Greg Petty didn't have a final vote for the deputy lord mayor given it was such a crucial vote," he said."It's not kosher as far as I'm concerned."But Cr Petty defended his position, saying he did not want to be seen to support either party.He accused the Liberals and Labor of caucusing. "It's obvious caucusing has started already - look at the votes," he said. "I was elected an independent and I voted independent."Councillors also voted on their remuneration, agreeing that councillors will be paid $24,960 annually and the Lord Mayor $72,710.Council meeting days will also change under the new council to Mondays, with meetings scheduled for twice a month while councillors grapple with the task of getting up-to-date with council business.Cr Bradbery said he breathed a sign of relief after the meeting."We survived," he joked. "This was an easy meeting, but I anticipate there will be challenging ones down the track." How they voted (the final vote):For John Dorahy: John Dorahy; Michelle Blicavs; Bede Crasnich; Leigh Colacino; Vicki Curran and Gordon BradberyFor David Brown: David Brown; Janice Kershaw; Ann Martin; Chris Connor; George Takacs and Jill MerrinAbstain: Greg Petty
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