HENK van de Ven could realise a long-held dream to become Albury mayor on Monday night with deputy mayor Kevin Mack ruling himself out of contention.
Cr van de Ven and mayor Alice Glachan are expected to battle for the top job for a fifth successive year with work commitments preventing Cr Mack from ascending to the role with the guaranteed support of at least five other councillors.
But his decision not to stand opens the door for Cr van de Ven to challenge Cr Glachan once again.
Both camps will spend the weekend shoring up crucial support ahead of the mayoral election.
Cr Mack and Cr Daryl Betteridge are expected to battle it out again for deputy mayor with the incumbent set to retain the position.
Cr Mack is a Victorian policeman and has previously expressed doubts he could juggle his commitments with both jobs.
Cr Graham Docksey has twice come out publicly in support of Cr Glachan and she also has the certain backing of Cr Betteridge and Cr Patricia Gould.
But the kingmaker is looming as Cr David Thurley.
He said yesterday he wouldn’t stand for either mayor or deputy mayor.
“I’ve got some thoughts, but I would rather not float them in public,” Cr Thurley said.
“The mayor has talked to me and other potential candidates have asked me.
“I am prepared to listen to them all.”
Last year Cr Glachan beat Cr van de Ven for the mayor position 5-3 when the council broke with recent tradition and held the election by secret ballot.
The other vote was ruled invalid.
The closest Cr van de Ven has come to becoming mayor was in 2010 when he lost a lucky dip for the post after former councillor Paul Wareham’s decision to abstain from the vote.
Cr van de Ven, Cr Glachan and Cr Gould had a three-way tussle for the position in 2009.
Cr van de Ven has had two stints as deputy mayor and is one of the most experienced on council.
“There are probably six councillors who would do a good job as either mayor or deputy mayor,” he said.
“I would love to represent the community as either mayor or deputy mayor.
“I really think I’ve done my apprenticeship.”
Cr Glachan said she still wasn’t a confirmed starter for the mayoral race.