IN HINDSIGHT, Newcastle’s newest council was never going to be a love-in.
The divisions within the council chamber are not just political, they are deeply philosophical.
And in Jeff McCloy’s voicemail and the accusations that have flown since, already we have witnessed a clash of approach and ideology.
Cr McCloy has ruffled a lot of feathers since his election in September, and not just within the elected council.
He has butted heads with the administration over the size of the budget deficit, and with the United Services Union over comments about the need to cut staff numbers and outsource projects.
The most recent tensions are, in part, the clash of a business-minded approach with a large government bureaucracy that is resistant to change.
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Those who voted for Cr McCloy – and there were many – were not naive. They did so expecting the new lord mayor to take an aggressive approach to the business of running the city.
It’s hard to argue that he does not have a mandate to pursue his agenda. But the voters of Newcastle, in their wisdom, also chose to give the lord mayor a council with drastically opposing views.
Those councillors, who stood on platforms that included free entry to pools and retaining council services, can hardly be expected to abandon those positions.
The first challenge for the next four years will be finding compromise.
The next challenge will be keeping the council from self-destruction when a compromise cannot be found.
And after the events of the past few days, the city will be watching more closely than ever.