FOR the first time Armidale Regional Council's (ARC) mayor could be elected by popular vote.
Local think tank New England Visions 2030 (NEV) has called for a survey to see if residents would support a referendum at the next election.
A mayor is already elected by popular vote in Uralla and the trend has started to catch on in other local councils, NEV convenor Maria Hitchcock said.
"With all the problems we have had, I felt this was a good time to ask the residents how they feel," she said.
"There are arguments for and against, some people think the councillors need to be able to work together so they have to elect their own mayor.
"The mayor they choose should be someone they can work with, but we have had problems with ARC where that hasn't been the case and I think you would find lots of examples where the mayor elected by the councillors may not be the best person for the job."
ARC has been dragged through significant turmoil in the last 18 months.
A tumultuous legal battle and attempts to remove the mayor Simon Murray and chief executive Susan Law have resulted in not only their resignations, but also those of three councillors.
All of the councillors have been suspended by Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock and interim-administrator Viv May is at the helm for the next three months.
Ms Hitchcock said if the public voted to have a popularly elected mayor at a referendum, they would be able to elect their own mayor in 2024.
"The argument for a popularly elected mayor is that people who are champions in their community are more likely to come forward," she said.