Shoalhaven City Council rivals Joanna Gash and Greg Watson both believe Kiama MP Gareth Ward's letter to the Minister for Local Government is part of move for council council.
On Friday, June 26 MP Gareth Ward sent a letter to South Coast MP and the Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock asking for the Shoalhaven City Council election to be brought forward, saying council was dysfunctional and incapable of working for the betterment of the community.
Former Mayor and current councillor Joanna Gash described the move by Gareth Ward as a "premeditated manipulation of our local democracy".
"I know the Member of Kiama wants to put people here in council so he can control it because he doesn't control this council," she said.
"It is true to say council has not been cohesive as of late but if he thinks back to his term on council, one remembers the tomato sauce incident which created an awful amount of comment."
Shoalhaven Independent Cr Greg Watson agreed the move was political but wasn't fazed.
"There's not much reaction for me," he said.
"Gareth hopes to stand a Liberal Party ticket at the next local government election and it's just a build-up to the campaign.
"There's some difficulty in council working together but we're still getting through the business."
In March, the Minsiter for Local Government postponed the September local government elections for 12 months in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fellow Shoalhaven Independent Cr Andrew Guile blamed the Mayor for the dysfunction in council.
"When you have someone who sets herself up as a dictator from the mayoral chair, it's always going to be really, really difficult," he said.
"The members of council that are getting in the way of progress and are not respecting the majority decisions of council's, they're the ones that have really got to look at their own decision and question why are they there."
Mayor Amanda Findley said council was getting on with most of its business as usual and that Minsiter Ward should instead be using his influence to get council under control.
"Minister Ward handed out how-to-votes for the Shoalhaven Independents political party and it would be really good if he could use his influence with that group to get them to comply with the code of meeting practice and to appeal to their sensibility around what motions they put up," she said.
Cr Gash moved to defend the Mayor from recent attacks.
"I hate seeing this sort of behavior being dished out to our Mayor, who has to be respected for her position," she said.
"Now I'm being called a Greens supporter... don't forget the Member for Kiama stood on the booths for Greg Watson and handed out preferences for the Greens."