So it doesn't look like there will an early election for Shoalhaven City Council. According to Shelley Hancock, Minister for Local Government, it's simply not possible in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
That means councillors will not have to face voters until September next year. By then the controversy that blew up last week, when Kiama MP Gareth Ward called for the early polling, labelling council as dysfunctional, will be all but forgotten.
It was instructive to get some perspective on Shoalhaven City Council from the minister who oversees all local governments in NSW. In Shelley Hancock's reckoning as minister, our mob isn't that bad. The shenanigans we saw at last week's meeting are, according to Mrs Hancock, not uncommon at this tier of government. And Shoalhaven is far from the worst offender.
Is there room for improvement? From the minsiter's perspective, certainly. Like many who watched the infantile carry-on last week, Mrs Hancock did not like what she saw. She urged councillors to put aside their personal and political differences and work together for the betterment of the community.
By and large, Mrs Hancock said, the council was stable, financially sound, had great senior management and was doing its best to help residents and ratepayers get through the twin crises of bushfire and pandemic.
Her assessment of Gareth Ward's call for an early election? Possibly to shake up the councillors who have been misbehaving, either through their constant interjections, points of order or sniping or through introducing and debating irrelevant motions.
And as a ratepayer, how did she find the meeting which led to Mr Ward's plea for an early poll? Deeply frustrating. Mrs Hancock said most casual observers would have found something better to do than endure the webcast.
That is a pity because local government should be front of all our minds. It's the level of government that affects us most directly. Decisions hammered out in the chamber can change our streetscapes, allow development we might regret in years to come or let roads become potholed and dangerous.
The more of us who take an active interest in the business of council, the more likely decisions we can live with will be made.
The more of us who watch proceedings, the more careful councillors will be to see debate stays civil and on topic. Their careers will depend on it.