ALISON DAVEYThe move has angered Cr Jeff Maybury so much that he told Cr Davey she was a ‘‘miserable woman’’ and described her yesterday as a ‘‘scrooge’’.

He said he and councillors Bob Pynsent, James Hawkins, Allan McCudden, Neil Gorman and Graham Smith would boycott the sausage sizzle and pay for their own get-together at Hope Estate.

Cr Maybury said the end-of-year event was not just for councillors and council officers, but also for their partners who ‘‘put up with a lot’’ during the year.

The venue change comes after a rift between the council’s management and its outdoor staff over funding for their Christmas show, which ended up in the Industrial Relations Commission last week.

At an extraordinary council meeting last Wednesday the issue flared up again with councillors arguing that the council’s indoor staff party should also be funded.

Cr Davey said it was decided that the council should opt for a more modest function.

She said the council would not lose the deposit at the Crowne Plaza and it would be held for a future event next year.

‘‘The replacement of the Christmas function will now be held at the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre for a substantially lesser amount,’’ Cr Davey said. ‘‘It does upset me that some councillors are suggesting they will hold their own function given that all councillors were provided with an opportunity to vote on two options for an alternative function.’’

She said she had taken offence at Cr Maybury’s remarks.

Cr Maybury said the mayor appeared to be concerned about the ratepayers’ perception of the executive event being held at the Crowne Plaza with a $6000 credit already with the venue.

The money was a deposit to secure a date for a River of Black Gold Festival event, which was also cancelled.

While the executive party was not going to cost $6000, councillors were told that other community groups may like to make use of the balance of funds and reimburse the council.

‘‘This is an insult, especially to councillors’ partners who put up with a lot during the year, take the abusive phone calls and complaints,’’ Cr Maybury said.

‘‘Cr Davey said there had been a vote and that I had received a fax about it, but I did not. I told her she was a miserable woman and that she didn’t want to see anyone enjoying themselves,’’ he said.

‘‘She is a scrooge.’’