Suprovat exclusive : In the morning, Parramatta’s mayor opened the city’s new pool. By dinner, he was gone. Pierre Esber was elected mayor of the City of Parramatta Council at an extraordinary meeting on Monday night, after councillors resolved at a last-minute caucus meeting to remove mayor Sameer Pandey from his post. Parramatta’s lord mayor
Suprovat exclusive : In the morning, Parramatta’s mayor opened the city’s new pool. By dinner, he was gone. Pierre Esber was elected mayor of the City of Parramatta Council at an extraordinary meeting on Monday night, after councillors resolved at a last-minute caucus meeting to remove mayor Sameer Pandey from his post.
Parramatta’s lord mayor has been ousted after just 18 weeks in the job as a bitter internal party dispute has left Sydney’s second CBD with its third mayor in five months.
The result exposes a major chasm among the local Labor councillors, who were split over nominations for the position on the Labor-majority council. The party’s head office ordered a meeting of councillors, who voted 4-3 to not nominate Pandey for re-election and move that Esber be nominated for mayor.
Labor councillors who were involved in the caucus meeting refused to say why the party did not support Pandey. But Labor councillor Paul Noack, who voted for Pandey in the caucus, said during the council meeting that the mayor’s term had been “cut short”.
Sources with knowledge of the meeting but who were not authorised to speak publicly said councillors Pandey, Noack and Angela Humphries walked out of the meeting after the vote.
Labor’s Patricia Prociv was elected deputy mayor, winning by the same number against Georgina Valjak, a Liberal member who ran as an independent.
Pandey was voted on to the council in 2017 and was elected to the mayoralty in May after Donna Davis – the then-mayor elected to the state seat of Parramatta following the May state election – was pressured to stand down over allegations she could not fully commit to both jobs. She remains a councillor.
Esber, known locally as Pierre the Plumber, has served on the council for 24 years. Earlier in the day he expressed caution ahead of the vote.
“Anything can happen over the next five-and-a-half hours. If it comes off, it comes off. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t,” he said.
In his mayoral minute, Pandey thanked the councillors.
“I’ve been honoured to serve as lord mayor of City of Parramatta since my election as lord mayor,” he said. “I’m proud to have played a part in the ongoing transformation of our city.”
When asked before the vote if he felt betrayed, Pandey admitted he was disappointed.
“But I am grateful for the support of my colleagues and the community.”
Pandey played a key role in the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Parramatta and Harris Park earlier this year.
“To be mentioned by two prime ministers [Albanese and Modi] on the same day was a very humbling experience,” he said.
Pandey has been supported by Sanjay Deshwal, president of the Little India Harris Park Business Association, which has spent the week spruiking his achievements as mayor.
“This is a dark day for democracy,” Deshwal said of Pandey, who is the city’s first Indian mayor and is extremely popular among the local Indian community.
“There’s a lot of hope and positivity for Sameer Pandey being the lord mayor here. Now, it’s not even three or four months in the job, and they want to remove him.”
One senior Parramatta Labor member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely express their views, said the move would “destroy Labor in Parramatta”.
“It would be considered a senseless act with no political outcome that is beneficial for the Labor Party.”
Indian Link said, Sameer Pandey backstabbed in the race for Parramatta mayor. Ref: The Sydney morning herald.