Labor councillor David Brown was easily elected as Wollongong's deputy lord mayor, beating Liberal contender Leigh Colacino by a vote of 9 to 3.
An experienced councillor and runner-up in September's Lord Mayoral election, Cr Brown will serve in the role for one year.
His strong support at the first meeting of the newly elected councillors demonstrated Labor's return to dominance on the council, with the party’s six members supported by both Greens and Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery.
Councillors also elected delegates to a number of committees, with Labor councillors easily installing their chosen representatives.
As his nomination for the second-in-charge spot was read out, Cr Colacino wryly noted the Liberals’ depleted vote, joking “well I’m a shoo-in” just before he lost.
With five first-time councillors at Monday’s meeting (the sixth first timer Dom Figliomeni was an apology), the public gallery at the meeting was packed with family members, as well as Wollongong MP Paul Scully and Illawarra Parliamentary Secretary Gareth Ward.
In particular, Labor’s Jenelle Rimmer was joined by a number of her loved ones – marking her place as the second generation in her family to serve on council. Her late father Ian Hunt was a Wollongong councillor between 1995 and 2004.
It was also a chance for Cr Bradbery to test out the challenge of having two Crs Brown – Tania and David – around the chamber; both will need to be called by their first names.
In the public access forum before the meeting, Warwick Erwin, who unsuccessfully ran for council and attended all but two of the council meetings last term, said the councillors needed to focus more on outer suburbs.