Wollongong and Shellharbour's long-standing mayors have come face to face with political - or human - mortality, but after restoring integrity to their respective councils following years under administration, neither is ready to go.
It struck Marianne Saliba when she went to the Shellharbour City Council office to sign some papers on Friday morning: "this might be the last time I do this".
Ms Saliba, mayor of her hometown for nine years, is favoured to win again this weekend, but it was a poignant moment to consider the end.
"I hope not, because I'm not ready at this stage to call it a day," she told the Mercury.
"I still have a lot of passion in my belly, for Shellharbour, and I don't want to be hanging up my boots so to speak, or my gloves. I'm not ready for that yet.
"I still have a lot [to] contribute.
"I always hoped that I would know when the time to go is, because I don't want to get carried out in a box and I certainly don't want to be there too long ... to the point that I'm not contributing enough or not doing enough for the people of Shellharbour.
"I think I would have the good sense to know that I've gone as far as I can and that there were others there that I could hand the reins over to and move on. Can I say, I don't feel that that time is now."
Cr Saliba said she was pleased to face a direct election for the first time in her mayoralty.
"It makes me feel really really proud because in the first term of council, I put forward a mayoral minute calling on my colleagues to support a referendum to give the community the opportunity to decide whether they wanted to select the mayor," she said.
"Overwhelmingly the public said yes, so no matter what the outcome of this weekend is, it gives me great pleasure and comfort in knowing that I have brought this to fruition."
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery's brush with mortality was corporeal - he suffered a heart attack in August last year. He had to decide whether to try another term, which he says will be his last before retiring - with something left in the tank.
"After talking to my cardiologist and my doctors they thought yes, that my health was a high enough standard to go on," he said. "I didn't want people going back to the polls to [for a] by-election, wasting resources.
"It's not only that - I want to die doing things that are in the interest of my community and a little better world. But at the same time, I've got to realise and be practical that this does require a lot of physical effort as well as mental and emotional input. I think I've still got this term in me and I am realistic: this is the final term."
"I'm proud. I've achieved a cohesive council, a council that's worked. We've been able to put in place some major projects.
"It's a challenge to to get out here and promote yourself, especially when you don't belong to a political party and you've got to muster the resources yourself. But I've relied heavily on my reputation and I think that's going to get me across the line."
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