Deputy mayor Brian Petschler was the big winner at Saturday'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 also see Jamberoo dairy farmer Mark Honey elected to council, and potentially Bob Behl who was third on the team's ticket.
Yesterday Mr Petschler said he was "not counting his chickens" but declared his interest in the job held by Sandra McCarthy for the past 12 years.
"I'd like to wait until the vote is finalised to see who is elected, but I am happy to say I am interested," Cr Petschler said.
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 in with just 7 per cent of the vote.
Former police officer Dennis Seage will also secure a seat on the council with the Locals for Locals group recording 11.4 per cent.
The remaining two seats are likely to 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, as in 2008, faces a nervous wait while preferences are distributed.
A final result is not expected until Wednesday or Thursday.
The new council will elect Kiama's mayor on September 25.
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.