A vote of no confidence in the mayor of Hartlepool has been defeated.
Mayor Stuart Drummond said he had the mandate of the people
The motion was put forward by independent councillors, who accused the council of lacking management flair and leading behind closed doors.
But after a ballot, the motion against Mayor Stewart Drummond and chief executive, Paul Walker, was defeated by eight votes to five - 19 abstained.
Mr Drummond dismissed the vote as a "waste of time" and said he had a tremendous mandate from the people.
But Geoff Lilley, an Independent councillor for Hartlepool's Greatham ward, who helped launch the motion said it was a hollow victory.
He said: "Only eight councillors voted and 19 abstained - is that really a victory or vote of confidence?
"I voted for our mayor, but he has demonstrated a lack of leadership and ability to motivate people and the gap he has left has been filled by bureaucrats."
He said there was a lack of confidence in council management and too many restructuring and financial decisions were made behind closed doors.
Mr Drummond became mayor in 2002 posing as Hartlepool United mascot H'angus the mascot. He was re-elected earlier this year.
He said: "I'm treating this vote with the disdain it deserves and I believe it was a waste of time.
"There is a small element of people who are determined to try and stop me from doing my job.
"But I have the mandate of the people who voted me in and have confidence in me and I'm going to put this behind me."