Sutherland Shire councillor Kent Johns elected acting director of Liberal Party in NSW

Stepping up: Kent Johns will lead the Liberal Party in NSW until a new president is elected to replace Trent Zimmerman. Picture: John Veage

Stepping up: Kent Johns will lead the Liberal Party in NSW until a new president is elected to replace Trent Zimmerman. Picture: John Veage

Sutherland Shire councillor Kent Johns has been elected acting president of the NSW branch of the Liberal Party.

The decision was made by the state executive following the resignation this month of president Trent Zimmerman.

“Cr Johns is the managing director of his own manufacturing company in the water industry, having had extensive experience in senior roles in major corporations,” a statement said.

“Consistent with the party’s constitution, he will serve as acting state president until the vacancy is filled by state council.

“This would occur as soon as practicable.”

Cr Johns was elected urban vice-president by state council delegates in November last year, replacing Mr Zimmerman, who took over as president after Chris Downy resigned.

Since taking on the presidency, Mr Zimmerman has been elected to Federal Parliament.

Cr Johns, a power broker in the party’s left wing faction known as the “moderates”, has had an unusual career in politics.

He was elected as a Labor Party representative to Rockdale Council in 1995 and became mayor in 1999.

In 2002, Cr Johns quit the Labor Party after reporting ­corruption at the council to the Independent Commission Against Corruption, which resulted in adverse findings against other councillors and developers.

He moved home across Georges River, joined Sutherland Shire Council as a Liberal in 2004 and was mayor in 2012-13 and 2014-15.

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