FEW could begrudge Cr Dom Testoni for putting his political ambitions on hold to spend more time with his young family.
Anyone who has raised a family knows children seem to grow up in hyperspeed, milestones flitting by as if captured on time lapse photography.
When you walk the balance beam between a full-time job, a family and a role in public life, something’s got to give – and so it has with Cr Testoni.
Nonetheless, his decision not to contest next month’s local election has come as a shock to his political allies and rivals alike.
Not only was Cr Testoni expected to run for mayor, but he was considered one of the frontrunners to take the chains.
At the last election, Cr Testoni garnered the second highest primary vote – more than the combined total of two of the three current mayoral contenders, Crs Dino Zappacosta and Allan Bennett.
With mayor Mike Neville’s political future shrouded by sex assault allegations, his loyal deputy was seen as the “heir apparent”.
In recent times, Cr Testoni has experienced the best and worst of politics.
As acting mayor during the March flood crisis, he showed poise and strength at a time when the community was looking to its leaders.
But he has also courted controversy, falling out bitterly with the Riverina Citrus board during his time as CEO of the organisation and targeted in a smear campaign over a trip to China.
Privately, Cr Testoni has expressed frustration at the factional infighting that has plagued the current council but has refused to blame that for his decision to stand down.
Politicians, even at the local level, are often seen as being driven solely by ego and ambition, at the expense of all else.
But Cr Testoni has shown great humility by putting his family first.
For the sake of our community, let’s hope he is true to his word and returns to public life.