AN UNEXPECTEDLY large field of candidates has nominated for the top job in Shoalhaven for the March 27 Local Government election.
The field of 15 eclipses last time's 11 nominations, with at least seven nominating at the last minute.
All but three of the candidates for Mayor are also standing as councillors in one of the three wards.
Standing are, in alphabetical order, John Anderson, Pam Arnold, John Finkernagel, Dick Guthrie, Paul Green, Bill Hilzinger, Trevor Kilner, Dan McConell, Brian Parry, Gareth Ward, Greg Watson, Maureen Webb, Patricia White, John Willmott and Josi Young.
Councillor Anderson is a former Army intelligence officer and was first elected to council in 1996 at a by-election.
His main focus is the prudent administration of council's finances, maintenance of assets and appropriate emphasis on the arts.
Cr Finkernagel, a Bomaderry high school teacher, has served two terms on council, and is standing for Mayor as a serious alternative to the incumbent, because of community concerns that an inexperienced candidate could take the top job.
Mr Guthrie is a long time resident of Berry, and former real estate agent.
He is concerned about the perceived lack of council action for the northern part of Shoalhaven.
Mr Green is a family man and a youth pastor, and enjoys helping young people make serious life decisions which will help them in the future.
He believes he will have a lot to offer the community as part of the council.
Cr Hilzinger has served on Shoalhaven City Council for 17 years. A former Navy man, he is the successful proprietor of his own business and chairman of the Southern Phone Company.
Mr Kilner is a school teacher at Nowra Technology High, with 22 years experience as a councillor. In recent times he has been campaigning for a safe access for children to Illaroo Road Public School.
Mr Ward is the youngest Mayoral candidate at just 22, but he is full of enthusiasm and energy.
He hopes to bring some young, fresh ideas to the corridors of council.
Incumbent Mayor, Greg Watson, with 30 years on council, with one term as Shire President and in his fourth Mayoral term, has invaluable experience and a knowledge of the Local Government industry second to none.
Mrs Webb is well known as the secretary of the St Georges Basin Community Forum and an active community worker, and thinks it is time for a fresh approach.
She believes council should work towards planning ahead, with appropriate development so Shoalhavn's wonderful assets can be retained.
Mrs White is the mother of four, and has worked tirelessly in the Ulladulla community since moving to the disctrict nine years ago.
She assisted Shelley Hancock in her campaign for the State seat of South Coast, and hopes to be able to fill Ms Hancock's shoes on council.
Mr Willmott was born and bred in the Milton district. A former real estate agent, he is now a consultant and is anxious to see sensible and sustainable development.
Cr Josi Young has earned her credentials in eight years as a Ward Three councillor. She is a fiery and passionate advocate for her consitituents.
* For more details on the election candidates be sure to see Monday's South Coast Register.