Greg Cummings is Cumberland Council’s first mayor following support from an unlikely source.
Prior to last week’s mayoral election, the Labor caucus appointed former Auburn councillor George Campbell as its nominee. Also from Labor, Cr Cummings got the support he needed from the five Liberals and two independents to snatch victory, which saw loud applause from the public gallery.
There are calls for Cr Cummings to be expelled from the Labor Party. The last mayor on the former Holroyd Council, he will be at the helm for the next two years.
“I’m very humbled and privileged,” he told the Sun afterwards. “The party caucus decided on George. I had a different opinion and so did some of the other councillors. I believe the first mayor should be from Holroyd, especially since it takes up 50 per cent of Cumberland.”
The new council is made up of the former Auburn, Holroyd and parts of Parramatta councils. Cr Cummings hopes his colleagues can put the result behind them and work together as a collective. “There’s a great mix of experience and enthusiasm and I look forward to serving the community,” he said.
The first thing he wants to do is review decisions made by former administrator Viv May in the last 15 months
“Getting opinions from the community is the first cab off the rank,” Cr Cummings said. “A lot of decisions did not have as much consultation as they should have.”
The council’s five existing pools will continue to be maintained following a separate plebiscite in the local government elections where more than 75 per cent of residents voted in favour.
“The community has spoken,” Cr Cummings said.
The possibility of a future popularity elected mayor hasn’t been ruled out. “It may be something the community may decide on in the future,” Cr Cummings said.
Liberal councillor Ross Grove was the first to sign Cr Cummings’ nomination form and insisted he wasn’t approached by the mayor.
“Greg and I have been political rivals for the best part of a decade, so I know him well,” Cr Grove said. “It’s good to have a Holroyd person in the role as a number of projects have been held up by the administrator, such as the Merrylands town centre development.”
Elected onto the council on a recount, Our Local Community independent Eddy Sarkis is the deputy mayor for next 12 months. His name was pulled out of a hat after votes between him and Steve Christou were tied at 7-all. Cr Cummings abstained from the vote.
Cr Sarkis served twice as deputy mayor on the former Holroyd Council. “It’s demanding...it involves more than just being a councillor,” he said.
Cr Sarkis’ priority is traffic concerns in Greystanes and Pemulwuy and footpaths.