Albury councillor David Thurley has backed away from a tilt at the city's top, job leaving incumbent mayor Kevin Mack a clear path to retaining the job.
Cr Thurley has confirmed he contacted Cr Mack this week about his decision not to challenge for mayor or deputy mayor when elections for the roles are held next month.
He initially flagged a challenge in March when the NSW government postponed council elections until March next year, but mayoral elections would proceed for councils such as Albury.
"Given the amount of upheaval going on with the regional deal, two cities and now COVID, I think now is not a good time to change leaders," he said.
'Kevin and (chief executive Frank Zaknich) are right across this stuff at the moment and it would be a big workload to get up to speed.
"I said if Kevin wanted a break I would be happy to put my hand up, but he said he was happy to keep going.
"It would be nice to do the job and it would be a great honour, but it's not the right time."
In March, Cr Thurley said he could be a "good mayor" if Cr Mack was looking to take a breather from the role he won a two-year extension on in 2018 when he rolled Cr Henk van de Ven 5-4.
Cr Darren Cameron was shaping as the "kingmaker" if Cr Thurley pressed ahead with a mayoral challenge.
Cr van de Ven has ruled out running for mayor, but flagged an intention to again challenge deputy mayor Amanda Cohn.
The wage jumps from $44,250 to $60,080 in addition to the increased councillor wage which also rises from $20,280 to $24,320.