Deputy mayor Brian Petschler was the big winner at yesterday's Kiama Municipal Council election, with the former general manager now favourite to be Kiama’s next mayor.
The Petschler/Honey team secured 29 per cent of first preference votes, which will see Jamberoo dairy farmer Mark Honey elected to council, and potentially Bob Behl who was third on the team's ticket.
The Kiama Greens will maintain their presence on the council through two new faces in Andrew Sloan and Kathy Rice, the Greens securing 22.7 per cent of the vote, a slight improvement on the party’s 2008 result.
Veteran Kiama councillor Warren Steel returns for another term with Team Steel picking up 12.7 per cent, a significant improvement on his 2008 result when he ran under the banner of We Love Kiama and scraped on with just 7 per cent of the vote.
Former police officer Dennis Seage is also likely to secure seat on the new council with the Locals for Locals group recording 11.4 per cent.
The remaining two seats will be fought out between the ungrouped independent Mark Way (8.3 per cent), The Right Direction's Gavin McClure (8.3 per cent) and incumbent councillor Neil Reilly (7.5 per cent) who like in 2008, faces a nervous wait while preferences are distributed. A final result is not expected until Thursday.
The council will elect Kiama's next mayor on September 25.
Last night Cr Petschler said it was a great result for his team.
"We campaigned on issues and I believe this result shows people want to hear from people who discuss the issues, not spin doctors," he said.
"I am delighted we will have Mark Honey on council, he is a long time dairy farmer in Jamberoo and Bob Behl if elected will bring with him experience that will be needed on the next council."
Mr Petschler said what was of concern was the high number of informal votes which jumped from around 5 per cent in 2008, to 13 per cent this time.
"That will be something that needs looking into," Mr Petschler said.