WHILE unclear whether it will be a two-horse race or a three-cornered contest, Shellharbour City's civic leaders for the next 12 months will soon be determined.
Councillors will meet next Tuesday night to vote on the roles of mayor and deputy mayor.
Last year, Labor deputy mayor Marianne Saliba received four of the seven votes to land the mayor's job, while Liberal councillor Paul Rankin assumed the deputy position after missing out on the top role.
Fellow Liberal Kellie Marsh was given the city's top job for the first 12 months of the new council upon its election in September 2011.
However, Cr Marsh was left without support by her fellow councillors during last year's vote.
Cr Saliba and Cr Rankin will both run for the mayor's role this year.
Cr Saliba believed she was a member of a team.
"As such, it takes all of us to ensure council runs smoothly," she said.
"I'll still be a member of a team and still continue to work for the people of Shellharbour City.
"I'm sure my colleagues will make a decision based on who they think will do the best job."
Cr Rankin said during his time as deputy he had learnt how to be a much better person with regard to dealing with people, as well as being more open-minded.
He said he also attended various council-related training to gain further skills.
"Marianne has done a fair job, but I'm a different person, and my style is a lot different to hers," he said.
"I'm a bit more relaxed when I run the meeting; I wouldn't get caught up in the political arguments as I'm not interested in that stuff."
At the time of going to press, Cr Marsh said she was yet to make a decision on whether to stand again, and would make the call early this week.
"I'll just keep it close to my chest," she said.
"Our supporters want me to run, and the community wants me to run, that's for sure."
Given the seven-member council is comprised of three Labor and two Liberal party members, the two independents - Peter Moran and Helen Stewart - will likely have the final say.
Cr Moran said if she chose to stand he would support Cr Marsh.
If she opted not to do so, he would support the incumbent, Cr Saliba.
Cr Moran said he believed it important that throughout the current council's term, the mayoral role be shared between the two major voting blocs within the community.
"I have my views, but will respect the views of the community and ensure both those voices are heard," he said.
Cr Stewart said she remained undecided, and her vote would depend on the field of candidates.
"It is a difficult decision," she said.
"Regardless of your politics or personal opinions, the person to lead the council has to be someone who is a very strong person and able to see the city move forward."
Be sure to check the Lake Times website next Wednesday for the results of the vote.