Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery says he agrees with a new push to ban real estate agents and property developers from running for council.
With a council election due in September, Cr Bradbery said having people with a vested interest in property on the council would be "fraught" and could bring up the "bad scene" which famously plagued Wollongong council before it was sacked in 2008.
The ban has been proposed by NSW Labor, which hopes to introduce a bill to parliament this week to disqualify property developers and real estate agents from civic office.
Labor's Local Government spokesman, Greg Warren - who drafted the bill - said it had been "Labor's policy for years to ban property developers and real estate agents from being elected to NSW councils".
This will be Labor's second attempt in three years at pursuing the ban, after the government voted down a similar upper house bill in May 2017.
Cr Bradbery said "on face value" he agreed with Labor's proposed ban.
"There's two ways of looking at it - because it is precluding one group of citizens from a democratic process," he said.
"But at the same time, councils dominated by real estate agents and property developers can get themselves in a real bind."
For instance, he said debates over planning strategies like the CBD one Wollongong council is reviewing now could result in certain land becoming more or less valuable as a result of council decisions.
"Developers obviously want to get the maximum opportunity out of land they might own... and even though you might not have a direct interest, if you've got connections in the property industry then maybe your mates do," he said.
"It's fraught, being a property developer or real estate agent, dealing with planning matters and teasing out your personal interests with the community's interest."
Labor mayor of Shellharbour, Marianne Saliba said she was less inclined to support an all out ban.
"I have mixed feelings about it, because it doesn't matter what profession you are a part of - there is always the chance that people could be dishonest," she said.
"It doesn't matter if you're a real estate agent, a hairdresser or work in any other business. In fact, if you look at some of the corruption in the past, it hasn't necessarily been real estate agents or property developers."
She said the understood the motivations behind ruling out the influence of real estate agents of developers, but believed there were good protections in place as long as people were upfront about their conflicts of interest while on council.
No real estate agents or property developers elected to either Illawarra council for at least 10 years, since both were reinstated after being sacked - Wollongong for the sex for development scandal and Shellharbour for ongoing dysfunction.