Claims of a 'tight five' in Hamilton's council chambers have been slammed as rubbish by two of the city councillors named as supposedly part of the group.
Last week councillor James Casson said he would run again for a council seat because the perceived old boys' club around the council table had damaged the public image of council, and it was time for the voting power of the current mayor and his so-called tight five to go.
However, councillor Geoff Taylor has responded by blasting claims of block voting tactics, calling it dishonest politicking.
Mr Taylor confirmed this week he would be running for a second term on Hamilton City Council and said he had not ruled out the possibility of running for the mayor's job as well.
Also this week Mr Casson announced on Facebook he would be running for the mayoralty. Other mayoral candidates so far are incumbent Andrew King and current councillor Angela O'Leary.
Mr Taylor told Hamilton News: "The 'tight five' is just a lazy, dishonest tag that has no basis in reality. I've heard [Councillor] Rob Pascoe use it as well and it's just politicking at its most devious and nasty really. I prefer not to get into all this sort of stuff.
"I'm tired of hearing them repeat it over and over and get away with it," he said.
"As far as I'm concerned Casson's jibes cheapen the hard work many of us have put in on council. I'm proud of the work I've put in - and achievements I've made with the help of others in areas such as two hours free parking, the River Plan and a number of traffic issues."
Mr Taylor chairs the council Parking Taskforce and is deputy chairman of the council's Growth and Infrastructure Committee. Mr Taylor took aim at Mr Casson's Facebook post, claiming he does not use his debating time effectively in the chamber.
"If he wants to debate things, debate things. That's how we make decisions, we listen to what each of us have to say. I've changed my mind a number of times when I've been convinced by others' comments in meetings."
Councillor Mark Bunting, another first term councillor, also came out on Facebook to squash claims of a tight five.
"To the best of my knowledge there is no more a mayor's tight five than there is a mayor's burlesque pig wrestling club. If there is such a gang, I'm not aware of it and certainly haven't been invited to it," Mr Bunting said.
"I've been mates with Angela for years, am good chum and business partner with Geoff, get on really well with Paula [Southgate], have had a whiskey with Dave [Macpherson] and I've been mates with Garry [Mallett] for about 17 years. Again, if there is an old boys club in there I haven't been invited, I don't know who they are and probably wouldn't join if I was asked."
Mr Bunting announced in the Facebook post he would wait until later in the year on to decide if he would run for council again.