ALBURY mayor Kevin Mack is under immediate pressure to relinquish his local government leadership role as he attempts to dethrone Sussan Ley as the federal member for Farrer.
Cr Mack re-affirmed on day one of campaigning he would be staying on as mayor in the short-term at least.
But Ms Ley and former Albury mayor Henk van de Ven both agreed he couldn't juggle both roles even though the NSW Local Government Act doesn't stipulate he must step down as mayor once he nominates as a candidate for a federal or state election.
Cr van de Ven said he would be raising the issue as a matter of urgent business at Monday night's council meeting.
"My personal view is he shouldn't be doing both," he said.
"If he is going to do both jobs, I will personally be making sure none of the council's assets including the mayoral car are being used in attempting to become the member for Farrer.
"He needs to step aside and there needs to be another election for mayor."
After the vote, Cr van de Ven accused Cr Mack of reneging on a deal for him to become deputy mayor if he didn’t oppose Cr Mack for mayor.
Cr Amanda Cohn was re-elected deputy mayor 5-3 with Cr van de Ven also unsuccessfully contesting the deputy mayor election.
Cr Cohn said she would back the mayor on the timing of devoting 100 per cent to the Farrer election campaign.
"Kevin works very hard in his role as mayor," she said.
"I’m sure he’ll be very busy running a strong campaign for Farrer and I trust his judgment to step back from council when he needs to in the best interests of our community."
Ms Ley said Cr Mack would be a part-time mayor and part-time candidate and wasn't doing either role justice.
She revealed she stepped down from her public service job at the Australian Tax Office to contest Farrer for the first time in 2001.
“He is going to give perhaps a month to his full-time candidacy across the electorate of Farrer, an electorate that is almost as big as New Zealand," Ms Ley said.
“The people of Albury would be quite right to question his commitment to them as their mayor and their civic leader and the people of Farrer would be well advised to question his commitment to them as their candidate.
“It is an enormous electorate and being a candidate should be a full-time job."
She back-tracked and Cr Bernard Gaffney was elected mayor.
Cr Mack said he planned to remain mayor for at least the next four to six weeks.
"It is important to maintain that connection with the ratepayers of Albury," he said.
"They are the ones who elected me into this role and I need to balance that with what I am trying to do with Farrer.
"I will be maintaining that presence and certainly there are some big decisions to be made in Albury in the next month.
"I think it is important to be part of that in the chamber."
Cr Mack and Ms Ley also clashed on mobile phone blackspots with the independent candidate claiming Indi MP Cathy McGowan had a better strikerate in securing funding for towers.
"What has the current government provided for Farrer in the last 18 years?" he said.
"The answer is very little.
“I invite the current government to step up and make a statement about that.
"What have they done?
"Thirteen phone towers in 18 years. Wow. Farrer is safe isn't it?"
Ms Ley said there was simple reason for why Indi fared better with mobile phone tower funding.
“Farrer is flat and Indi is hilly and mobile phone signals don’t travel very far in the hills," she said.
“But from 2001 until Labor got into power, I saw 20 new mobile base stations across my electorate."
Ms McGowan said Farrer voters should look forward to a healthy battle between Cr Mack and Ms Ley.
"What I’ve learnt in my time as a member of parliament is that competition makes all the difference, so for Farrer people to have some competition is fantastic," the retiring Ms McGowan said.
“The ability for independent voices to be heard in parliament has made an enormous difference to our representation."
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