In the first meeting of the new council on Monday, Cr Pauling was elected unopposed after being nominated by Labor councillor and outgoing deputy mayor Christine Buckley.
It is the first time Cr Pauling has been elected to the position, having put his name forward unsuccessfully in the past including one election that was tied and eventually chosen by a hat draw.
He said he was "chuffed" to be the deputy mayor, and will maintain the position until September.
The council also approved a policy that would allow it to fill councillor vacancies that occur within 18 months of the council election through a countback of votes, rather than a by-election - the last of which occurred in 1993.
In a report to council, staff said the countback option would avoid the "administrative and financial burden" of a by-election, and "maintain community sentiment and uphold their democratic voice without having to physically attend a by-election and cast an additional ballot".
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The countback option would not be available if the mayor was to vacate her position.
Councillor Adam Schultz said with a federal election this year, a state election to be held by March next year and the ongoing pandemic, the countback option would mitigate some of the impacts on residents.
However Cr Pauling said he feared the policy could allow for an easier way out and potentially lead to some "game play" in which popular identities run for council, then drop out after the election allowing the next candidate to be elected.
"If it's easier to get out, people may be more inclined to drop out," he said.
People's circumstances can also change, which Cr Pauling said could mean the next best candidate might not take up the position and someone further down the ticket ends up on council.
"I think there are merits with both outcomes, but I'd much prefer a by-election," Cr Pauling said.
Councillor Luke Cubis said postal voting could mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on a potential by-election, and said when the council election was pushed back by three months last year, candidates had to re-nominate as the NSW Electoral Commission said their eligibility may have changed in that time.
"We're talking 18 months here," he said. "The party itself may not want that person 18 months later... they might not even be in that particular party at that point in time."
Cr Cubis said the cost was also small in comparison to council's overall budget.
"I'd say the cost of democracy far outweighs that financial cost," he said.
Councillor Brian Adamthwaite said he was confident that elected councillors were dedicated and wouldn't look for an easy way out of the job, and the process would still use "the will of the people" demonstrated through the council election process.