After recount requests denied, meet the inner west's surprise new councillors

Surprise new faces: Labor's Zoi Tsardoulias, Jess D'Arienzo and Timothy Stephens, who were second on their respective Labor tickets.
Surprise new faces: Labor's Zoi Tsardoulias, Jess D'Arienzo and Timothy Stephens, who were second on their respective Labor tickets.

With the NSW electoral commissioner's refusal of recount requests in Leichhardt and Marrickville wards, it is now official that there will be 10 new faces on the 15-member Inner West Council.

Three of them are unexpected, being second-billed Labor candidates who beat out three incumbent councillors to deliver Labor an outright majority of eight.

Going into the December 4 election, it was expected at least seven new councillors would be elected as five incumbents decided against running and two stepped back to lower positions on their tickets.

Labor's Jessica D'Arienzo and incumbent Mark Drury, who will both represent Ashfield-Djarrawunang on the new council.

Labor's Jessica D'Arienzo and incumbent Mark Drury, who will both represent Ashfield-Djarrawunang on the new council.

In Ashfield-Djarrawunang there will be two new faces after Jessica D'Arienzo beat independent candidate Morris Mansour by more than 1500 votes (after preference distribution) to comfortably take out the third spot in the ward.

Controversial incumbent Julie Passas was excluded early on due to low primary votes.

"My priority will be to build a more inclusive community," said Ms D'Arienzo, who was No. 2 on the Labor ticket behind re-elected incumbent Mark Drury.

"I aim to strengthen the bonds that connect our communities, from making our main streets great places to meet, our beautiful parks, sporting fields, pools and libraries places to relax, play and learn and our footpaths and roads safe to walk, ride and drive".

My priority will be to build a more inclusive community

Jessica D'Arienzo

Ms D'Arienzo has lived in Dulwich Hill for the past 11 years and works as an industrial officer at the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association and as a staffer for NSW upper house Labor member Anthony D'Adam.

She said she is "proud and humbled" to have been elected to serve the "vibrant and diverse community" in the ward and was inspired to run after being part of the Save Dully Action Group.

"As a Labor councillor I will work to defend our neighbourhoods from any future unsympathetic development plans driven by the state government," she said.

"I will continue our fight to protect our heritage and character and to ensure planning is consultative and community led".

She and Mr Drury join Greens candidate Dylan Griffiths as Ashfield's three representatives on the council.

Mr Griffiths works in research administration at the University of Sydney while studying postgraduate urban planning, and is passionate about affordable housing, active transport and protecting the area's tree canopy.

Dr Tim Stephens will represent the Leichhardt-Gulgadya ward.

Dr Tim Stephens will represent the Leichhardt-Gulgadya ward.

Marghanita Da Cruz (Greens) is the only returning councillor in the Leichhardt-Gulgadya ward. She will be joined by new Labor councillors Philippa Scott and Dr Tim Stephens.

When preferences were distributed Dr Stephens out-polled Vittoria Raciti, who previously represented the ward for the Liberal party but this year stood as an independent, to take out the last spot in Leichhardt with a margin of 393 votes.

Ms Raciti's request for a recount in the ward was denied by the electoral commissioner, John Schmidt.

Dr Stephens said he was motivated to run for council to support Ms Scott and while winning a spot on council was "unexpected" it was a testament to the "strong, positive campaign" she ran.

"She was such a tremendous lead candidate so I was keen to get her elected. And we did that extremely well and were able to pick up more council positions than we initially anticipated, and that's a wonderful outcome," he said.

"I'm delighted to be able to serve the community and looking forward to representing the interests and views of people of Leichhardt, including my own suburb of Haberfield".

[We] were able to pick up more council positions than we initially anticipated, and that's a wonderful outcome

Dr Tim Stephens

A life-long Haberfield resident, Dr Stephens is active in the local Catholic parish and works as a professor of International Law at the University of Sydney Law School. His academic specialisations include international law of the sea, international environmental law and international dispute settlement.

"I have a particular interest in promoting a greener and healthier inner west, and a strong interest in climate change issues. I'm also a keen cyclist and member of the Dulwich Hill bicycle club, so will be keen to support active transport in the municipality." he said.

Ms Scott trained as a lawyer and is a strategy manager at University of Technology, Sydney. She is also P&C president of the Leichhardt campus of Sydney Secondary College and is "very committed" to public education.

Zoi Tsardoulias with running mate Mat Howard and federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese. Picture: Facebook/Mat Howard

Zoi Tsardoulias with running mate Mat Howard and federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese. Picture: Facebook/Mat Howard

In the Marrickville-Midjuburi ward all three councillors will be fresh faces after Labor candidate Zoi Tsardoulias beat independent Victor Macri to take the ward's third spot by just 64 votes after preferences.

"Being a single parent to two children with special needs means I will face some additional challenges during my term, however I know with a great support network and a willingness to succeed, anything is possible," she said.

Mr Macri also requested a recount due to the tight margin between the votes. However the recount was declined.

Ms Tsardoulias will represent the ward alongside fellow freshman Mat Howard, who she ran second to on Labor's ticket. Mr Howard works in the office of Jo Haylen, the state Member for Summer Hill, and was co-chair of Rainbow Families NSW.

Ms Tsardoulias has run successful local businesses including a Subway franchise in Marrickville and worked for Sophie Cotsis, member for Canterbury, for more than four years. Now working for the Department of Education, she is passionate about education, the environment, disability services and the multicultural community.

Her late husband, Emanuel Tsardoulias, was a councillor in the former Marrickville council.

"Through his work, I was able to witness first-hand the difference he made in people's lives," said Ms Tsardoulias.

"Emanuel approached every task with enthusiasm, optimism, and commitment and I believe I can also do the same and honour his legacy".

Elected in the ward for the Greens is Justine Langford, a digital producer for the ABC who describes herself as a "proud public servant" and is a delegate for the Community and Public Sector Union.

(Top, from left) Labor's Philippa Scott, Chloe Smith and Mat Howard; and (bottom, from left) the Greens' Liz Atkins, Justine Langford, Kobi Shetty and Dylan Griffiths, will all join council for the first time.

(Top, from left) Labor's Philippa Scott, Chloe Smith and Mat Howard; and (bottom, from left) the Greens' Liz Atkins, Justine Langford, Kobi Shetty and Dylan Griffiths, will all join council for the first time.

In Balmain-Baludarri, Labor's Darcy Byrne and independent John Stamolis have been re-elected. They're joined by new Greens councillor Kobi Shetty, who has a background in fraud prevention within large financial organisations and has lived in the inner west for 10 years.

Independent Pauline Lockie has been re-elected in Stanmore-Damun alongside new councillors Liz Atkins from the Greens and Labor's Chloe Smith. Ms Atkins has a background in the public sector having worked in an anti-money laundering agency, and life-long inner westie Ms Smith works in the NSW Parliament as a strategy adviser to the Opposition Leader.

The new council will meet for the first time on December 29 to elect a mayor. Darcy Byrne was unanimously endorsed as Labor's mayoral candidate and, with the Labor majority on council, is expected to take the position. Kobi Shetty will challenge him as the Greens mayoral nominee.

Regular council meetings will resume on February 8.

Ward by ward results

ASHFIELD-DAMUN:

ELECTED: Labor Mark Drury and Jessica D'Arenzio. Greens Dylan Griffiths

LOST THEIR SEAT: Julie Passas

BALMAIN-BALUDARRI:

ELECTED:Labor Darcy Byrne. Greens Kobi Shetty. Independent John Stamolis

LEICHHARDT-GULGADYA:

ELECTED: Labor Philippa Scott and Timothy Stephens. Greens Marghanita Da Cruz

LOST THEIR SEAT: Vittoria Raciti

MARRICKVILLE-MIDJUBURI:

ELECTED:Labor Mat Howard and Zoi Tsardoulias. Greens Justine Langford.

LOST THEIR SEAT: Victor Macri

STANMORE-DAMUN:

ELECTED:Labor Chloe Smith. Greens Liz Atkins. Independent Pauline Lockie.

For the full rundown of results, you can visit the NSW Electoral Commission website.

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