Griffith mayor John Dal Broi has fired up when questioned over his alleged public endorsement of incumbent member Sussan Ley.
A video posted to the Riverina Winegrape Growers Facebook page shows Cr Dal Broi patting Ms Ley on the back, saying "I'll be voting for Sussan".
Cr Dal Broi and Ms Ley were standing alongside the freshly elected Member for Murray Helen Dalton, representatives of the Winegrape Growers and field days.
Questions surrounded this move, specifically whether this was an official Griffith City Council endorsement or his own personal view.
"I don't give a rats what people say - it is my own opinion. But if people want to take it as a mayoral thing, I've said it. I stand by it and don't withdraw," Cr Dal Broi stated.
The move, while personally "disappointing, was challenged by independent Kevin Mack, who recently stepped down as mayor of Albury.
Mr Mack noted the local government rules were quite clear on the matter.
"You are never not the mayor," Mr Mack said.
"Mayors have to be independent of the process, apolitical - besides the fact you are opening yourself up for disaster if the candidate you are supporting is not elected."
When approached, a spokesman for Ms Ley said "the beauty of Australia's democracy is that every person with a right to vote, also has a right to express their own opinion, publicly or privately."
Cr Dal Broi pointed to some his critics including the Griffith Business Chamber, who claim they have no affiliations, and said "were up to their necks" in political agendas.
"They are saying council should be apolitical, but as the chamber, should they not also step away from politics?" Cr Dal Broi asked.
"Quite frankly, the chamber's meet the candidates forum was all about water - and when I tried to direct the line of discussion away to other issues I get shot down by (chamber vice-president) Paul Pierotti."
Griffith Business Chamber has organised candidate forums for this year's council byelection, state and federal elections.
"During the state election, I sent a private email to the chamber asking if they would confirm or deny they were a part of Helen Dalton's campaign. I got a cease and desist, with the threat of legal action," Cr Dal Broi said.
Mr Pittavino claimed the chamber itself "had no political affiliations", however members of the executive team "had interests in getting Helen elected."
Despite his claim, Mr Pittavino's president address in the chamber's April eNewsletter publicly called Ms Ley "out of line".
The move hit a nerve with the MP who then released "Sussan Ley's response to Griffith Business Chamber's 10 point plan" addressing "what she had done" for the electorate in her term.
Mr Pittavino denies any claims members of the chamber's executive have financed independent Kevin Mack's campaign.
"We proved we were in step with the community," Mr Pittavino said.
"And even if Kevin Mack just misses out, the community has won because for years the federal government have ignored us and taken us for granted.
"Griffith will win no matter what happens in this election."
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