Kempsey Shire Council mayor Liz Campbell overcame a motion of no confidence at today's meeting.
Cr Leo Hauville introduced the motion on the primary basis Cr Campbell had not followed meeting protocol on more than one occasion in the past.
The atmosphere was tense inside the chamber as Cr Campbell faced up to her critics, while other members of the public and the majority of councillors declared their support for the under-siege mayor.
In a clear vote of confidence in Cr Campbell the motion was defeated 6-2, with Cr Dean Saul and Cr Leo Hauville the only proponents. Cr Bruce Morris abstained.
It is important to note, had the motion been successful the mayor would not have been dismissed. In NSW a popularly elected mayor can only be removed from office by the Governor or Office of Local Government.
Following the vote, a relieved Cr Campbell said she was shocked to first hear of the motion because it appeared futile.
“But you always question whether you’re doing a good job,” she said.
“You ask yourself what are the things you haven’t done that maybe you should have done.
“At the end of the day, it seemed to be about a couple of meetings where I haven’t followed exact protocol.”
An emotional Cr Campbell said she had been overwhelmed by the community’s backing.
“I must say the amount of phone calls and support from people who still do have the confidence in me as Mayor has been reassuring.
“I even got given flowers.”
The mayor said the cinema and airport issues have divided the community like never before and council’s poor communication of certain details exacerbated the situation.
However, she gave assurances council is working to improve its communication, adding the community will get the chance to judge its elected representatives at the next election.
“The thing that is really distressing that I hope we can move on from is the division and negativity.
“It’s fine to disagree with someone but personal attacks and trying to tear the community down rather than build us up is not productive at all – it’s hurtful.”