Newcastle councillors enter battle of the boards

LIBERAL councillors and independent lord mayor Jeff McCloy have flexed their muscles in a number of heated exchanges over Newcastle council positions on local boards.

Last week's council meeting started with a call for Labor councillor Tim Crakanthorp to be stripped of his position as director of the Hunter Region Surf Life Saving Association Helicopter Rescue Service Board, with Liberal councillor Brad Luke to take his place.

Liberal councillor Lisa Tierney said Cr Crakanthorp had leaked confidential art gallery-related information to a local newspaper and should not be re-endorsed.

However, Labor's councillor Nuatali Nelmes said Cr Crakanthorp had been a diligent board member since 2009 and long-standing member of the Surf Life Saving Association.

She said Liberal councillors had a plan to knock off all Labor members on council-represented boards.

Liberal councillor David Compton said Cr Crakanthorp had been a "hard worker" and an "asset" to the board. Cr Compton called for co-operation.

Councillors voted to nominate Cr Crakanthorp and Cr Luke, with the helicopter rescue board to make the final decision.

However, exchanges were again fired around the council chambers when the Art Gallery Foundation position was discussed.

Earlier that week Cr McCloy booted Labor councillor Jason Dunn from the foundation and appointed Liberal Cr Tierney.

Confusion over the legality of the move ensued, with the foundation taking multiple votes on matters, once with Cr Dunn's vote and again with Cr Tierney's vote.

Council general manger Ken Gouldthorp said the matter had since been cleared up. He has informed the foundation that the lord mayor has the final say on the matter, according to the foundation's constitution.

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