THE search for Newcastle City Council's new general manager has been described as a "matter of urgency" by lord mayor Jeff McCloy.
The first meeting of the year included a mayoral minute on the need to replace Phil Pearce, who resigned last month.
The mayor wants a council-led recruitment team comprising the lord mayor, Liberal councillors Brad Luke and Lisa Tierney, and a recruitment agent.
Intense debate was sparked when councillors called for diversity on the panel.
Ward 2 councillor Therese Doyle said all councillors should assist in the selection or the panel should include a representative from each of the Liberal, Labor and Green parties, and an independent.
However, recruitment panel member Lisa Tierney said that would be "daunting" for candidates and "a dog's breakfast".
Ward 1 Labor councillor Stephanie Posniak said she would be concerned if the general manager candidate could not handle questioning from the 13 councillors.
The lord mayor used his casting vote to keep the recruitment team unchanged.
All 13 council members will choose from two preferred candidates for both the interim general manager and general manager positions.