Armidale Regional Council put its monstrous split on display yet again on Thursday morning, when a majority of councillors failed to sack CEO Susan Law at a closed extraordinary meeting called expressly for that purpose.
There was a great deal of maneuvering by both sides and Mayor Simon Murray said he had take legal advice leading into the meeting. He wanted to have the meeting held in public, but was blocked as the meeting opened.
Cr Tiley was in deep conversation with Cr Margaret O'Connor before the meeting was opened, and it was Cr Tiley who quickly moved the meeting go into closed session and Cr Margaret O'Connor seconded his motion.
It effectively cut off Cr Murray's attempt to change it into an open meeting, so Mrs Law's fate was to be dealt with behind closed doors. She was forced out of the chamber for the half-hour meeting.
Some councillors were unhappy by the result of the meeting.
Cr Tiley was stony faced as he strode out of the chamber and quickly departed.
Cr Di Gray said a meeting code of practice was followed and no vote was taken.
"So, the matter is deferred to the next council meeting," she said.
"Governing body can't govern, that's okay," Cr Jon Galletly bellowed while exiting the chamber.
"The governing body is not allowed to govern. They did not permit us to vote on our motion," Cr O'Brien said.
"We're talking to the office of Local Government now, they're lawless."
Cr Andrew Murat said he had no comment.
Speaking to the Express outside the chamber, Cr Murray said he called the meeting to halt as per council's code of meeting practice.
"I deferred the matter because in our code of practice anyone can call a vote as long as there are two councillors speaking for it and two speaking against it, and we only had one councillor speak against it," he said.
"I took legal advice on that yes. This is seen by a group of councillors as being extremely serious."
Deputy Mayor Libby Martin and Cr Brad Widders were in serious conversation near the steps.
"It was an absolute disgrace, I just can't believe the one-mindedness," Cr Martin said.
"We don't even know why the other councillors want to vote to remove the CEO, that's how their code of silence runs. How can we make a decision on no information.
"Lack of confidence may have been the reason that was floated around, but there was absolutely no reason given today as to why they wanted the CEO dismissed. It's just frustrating, it's disgusting disgraceful and it's very sad to be part of it all."