GRIFFITH'S incoming mayor will need a firm hand and a fair mind to crush the bitter factional infighting of the last four years, a former councillor has claimed.
The current council has been heavily criticised for its factional divisions and some of the new faces have already been drawn into confrontation with fellow candidates.
Two contenders were involved in a verbal stoush while ordering how-to-vote cards two weeks ago and went head-to-head again on the lawn outside council chambers late last week.
With old conflicts rising to the surface and new sparks already flying, the newly elected mayor will be expected to unite the conflicting personalities to form a cohesive council, former councillor Tom Marriott said.
At a time when council has a long list of major projects in the pipeline, Mr Marriott said the next mayor would need to be even-handed and prepared to take control.
"You have to be strong to be an effective mayor, you've got to be fair and you need to obey the rules," Mr Marriott said.
"The mayor can have an opinion but, really, his job is to moderate and make sure councillors work together.
"A mayor should command the respect of all councillors, no matter what their beliefs are."
Mr Marriott said personality clashes and factions could make or break a council.
"It is incredible how some people follow the group just because they can," he said.
"Some people are just cantankerous and, while you should try not to get caught up in that, it's easier said than done.
"If there's a real troublemaker on council it's hard not to pick on him and if there's someone you really like, you have to resist bending their way."
Many of the existing councillors have denied the existence of factions but council watcher Arthur Nunn said bloc voting had become a prominent feature of the fortnightly meetings.
Mr Nunn, who hasn't missed a council meeting in more than a decade, predicted at least eight of the existing councillors would be re-elected.
"I can see there are going to be problems for the new council there are too many egos in the mix," Mr Nunn said.
"There are sure to be some big power struggles causing problems; it's likely to be a lot worse than the previous council.
"There are a lot of problems that will carry through and the townspeople won't get the benefits of a good council."
The Griffith community will choose its second popularly elected mayor tomorrow.