SIMMERING tensions erupted in the council chambers on Tuesday night when a new councillor challenged the mayor about his use of disabled parking bays.
Mayor John Dal Broi denied the flare-up signalled the re-emergence of the factions that scarred the previous council.
During the council meeting, Cr Alison Balind asked whether staff had been monitoring disabled bays at council's administration building and described two vehicles that had been using them illegally.
Cr Dal Broi immediately bit back, accusing Cr Balind of knowing the offending vehicles were his.
"Cr Balind, if you want to have a shot at me, you can do it in person without this sort of rubbish," the mayor said.
"When I come here, I make sure your brother is not here and that those bays are going to be free.
"In future, use a bit of commonsense."
Cr Balind's brother, wheelchair-bound councillor Mike Neville, is a regular user of the disabled bays.
Fuming, Cr Balind told the mayor Cr Neville "was not the only disabled person who needed to access the front of the council building" and reminded Cr Dal Broi he was the leader of the city and should "set the tone" for others.
"You are the leader and you need to set the tone for the community," Cr Balind said.
Cr Dal Broi told The Area News he took the exchange as a "clash of personalities" and had not yet seen any evidence of factions forming.
"For her, it was an opportunity to point-score and it really upsets me that that sort of thing is starting to develop in council," he said.
"What really flipped my switch was that she (Cr Balind) knew they were my vehicles and I was under the wrong impression that it was the mayor's car park."
Cr Balind denied her question had been a "point-scoring exercise", saying it had been asked at a recent transport and logistics committee meeting and she had passed it on.
The mayor said he would continue to use the disabled bays despite Cr Balind's challenge.