Cr Byrne said in a statement he would stand for mayor in December. He said Cr Porteous, who he said intends to step down at the election, had been installed for “a ridiculous three-month term” through “a backroom deal”.
“I am very worried that this bizarre act will see the council become distracted from the vital tasks of supporting local people to get through the lockdown and driving up vaccination rates,” he wrote on social media.
“This game-playing is a real worry, at such a critical time when all inner westies need council to be responsive and focused on providing stable and effective services.”
In August, Cr Byrne’s pay was suspended for three months after a tribunal found him guilty of having a conflict of interest in using a council vote to quash inflammatory comments about him and others on social media.
Cr Byrne, who is a former staffer to Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese, has also faced criticism for the amount he spends on his personal staff team and accusations of strained relationships with general managers.
Cr Byrne said he had worked tirelessly for the past four years to make the council “progressive and effective”.
“The magnificent new Marrickville Library, the awesome Ashfield Aquatic Centre and the heritage restoration of Dawn Fraser Baths are [three] examples.”
In 2017, Cr Byrne secured a majority of eight votes after the five Labor councillors brokered a deal with the two Liberal councillors and Cr Macri, as some hecklers at the meeting accused him of “doing a deal with the devil”.
The Liberals – who have two seats on the Labor and Greens dominated council – were in turn rewarded with the deputy mayoral position, after Labor threw their numbers behind Liberal councillor Julie Passas’ bid for the role.
The Inner West is among councils that must elect a new mayor in September before all councillors in NSW face re-election at the local government polls, which were twice delayed due to COVID-19 and are scheduled to take place on December 4.
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