Wollongong Liberal councillor Leigh Colacino has spoken out about being dumped from the top spot on the party's ticket.
After a decade as a Ward One councillor on Wollongong City Council Cr Colacino has lost that spot to Cameron Walters.
Cr Walters, currently a Ward Three councillor, has moved to the northern suburbs and is contesting election in that ward.
The Mercury understands that the decision to replace Cr Colacino with Cr Walters has raised the ire of some northern suburbs Liberal branch members.
While Cr Colacino would not comment on any unrest or the machinations behind the scenes, the Mercury understands he was told not to run.
"Cameron Walters is taking over the number one position in ward one which is the position I had," Cr Colacino said.
"There's only room for one position number one.
"I think I deserved the opportunity to retain the position of number one.
"I think for the record and the legacy of what I've done over 10 years I should have retained that position of number one and I didn't feel that I should be anything less."
"Cr Colacino hasn't ruled out running as an independent; he said he hadn't made up his mind.
He has until November 3 - the close of nominations - to decide.
The word he avoided using to describe how he feels about being pushed aside wasn't anger - he said he's learned in life what to be angry about and this wasn't one of those things.
Instead, the situation has left him with a sense of disappointment.
"I'm disappointed that things have turned out the way they are," he said.
"I made it very clear that I was happy to stand again.
"I put my hand up to represent the community once again but other people thought that they could do better.
"I've heard said that I was too busy to stand and help my community again.
"I've never been too busy to not care about our community.
"To even think that might be the reason why I wouldn't be standing is not correct."
Labor Ward One councillor Janice Kershaw said she was "absolutely shocked and dismayed" by the Liberals' decision to dump Cr Colacino.
"Cr Leigh Colacino and I have worked collaboratively for over 10 years for Ward 1 and Leigh has been a very strong and passionate advocate particularly for the residents in the north of our ward," Cr Kershaw said.
"People often say there shouldn't be politics in local government. It's not politics in local government that is the issue, its how councillors from different political parties interact and how some political parties get involved determining who and who can't run for positions.
"It's when external political party people get involved when the situation does not meet their plans and hence a much respected, hardworking and passionate advocate for Ward One and the city must be dumped."
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