THREE political veterans will vie for the mayoral chains on Monday night.
Mayor Rod Kendall, former mayor Kerry Pascoe and firebrand Paul Funnell are gunning for the top job, while it is expected Labor’s Dan Hayes will challenge Dallas Tout for deputy mayor.
Cr Kendall, who has been the city’s mouthpiece for the past four year, is intent on maintaining his mantle.
Asked whether he was confident of holding on to Wagga’s top job, Cr Kendall said “you should never have an undue level of confidence”.
“There will be competition and serious competition at that,” Cr Kendall.
“The great thing about Wagga is we always have councillors with aspiration to be mayor.”
Cr Kendall hoped his colleagues would keep his considerable election-winning margin in mind when casting their vote.
Cr Kendall said he had not struck a "vote swap" deal with any other councillor to help install them as deputy mayor in exchange for their mayoral support.
“I don’t do deals,” he said.
Councillor Paul Funnell will throw his hat in the ring, but doesn’t like his chances.
“We’ve been bogged down in internal bickering since 2007 and things are not getting done,” Cr Funnell said.
“The old guard is going about things in the same old way and we need change.
“But I’m not holding my breath because I’ve been a divisive figure.
“It’s a shame my fellow councillors have not had an opportunity to witness my capacity for rebuilding.”
Kerry Pascoe, who served as mayor between 2005 and 2010 and again between 2011 and 2012, wants his old job back but won’t challenge unless his numbers are watertight.
“I’m not definitely running, I’m still looking at the situation,” Mr Pascoe said.
“If I don't think I have the numbers, I won't run.
“What's the good of running when you know you haven't got the numbers?”
The political warhorse said his influence would not be stifled if he doesn’t win the backing of his colleagues, saying he likes to “get involved behind the scenes”.
In what has shaped as the most progressive, left-leaning council in living memory, Cr Kendall appears the strongest chance.
For the first time, the mayor will serve two years – instead of one – after state legislation changing the term length late last month.
In a recent The Daily Advertiser reader survey, 62.3 per cent of more than 700 respondents supported a directly elected mayor, as opposed to the current system whereby councillors anoint one of their own.
The preference for greater democracy implies voters want a constitutional referendum to change the voting process, which Griffith City Council voters passed in 2006 by a margin of 64-36 per cent.