The size of the blunder by Mayor Stuart Crosby to allow his list of preferred council candidates to circulate by email around Tauranga is now clear for all to see.
The people voted and, with the no-surprise exception of Hayden Evans, the Pick 6 faction that caused Mr Crosby so much aggravation for the last three years has survived.
It must have been a cruel blow when only four of the 14 candidates he listed in his Voters' Guide won seats on the new council.
Even Catherine Stewart, the fairly undistinguished rookie councillor, triumphed in Saturday's election by polling top in the Otumoetai-Pyes Pa Ward.
Ironically, this loyal member of the Pick 6 faction succeeded where one of the chief architects in the downfall of Cr Evans, Mike Baker, failed. He was bundled out by the voters who instead put their weight behind Larry Baldock for the ward's second seat.
Mr Crosby's list signalled, by implication, the candidates he preferred not to win - surely making it harder to follow through with his declared intention to forge a new sense of harmony.
The new council's effectiveness now rests largely with Mr Baldock and his fellow Kiwi Party colleague, the newly-elected Tony Christiansen.
Mr Baldock is well versed at propping up minority governments after three years in parliament from 2002-05 when United Future was in coalition with Labour.
So, he could be looking for some deal-making on pet projects to keep things ticking over in the right direction for Mr Crosby.
Assuming that one of the new faces on the council, Terry Molloy, continues where he left off in 2007 before voters gave him an enforced holiday, the voting balance of the council, minus Mr Baldock and Mr Christiansen, would be a knife-edge 5-4 in favour of the Mayor.
Making a backroom pact with Mr Baldock and Mr Christiansen would give Mr Crosby breathing room to get the council back to where he wants it to be.
The unspoken bottom line for achieving a cohesive council was the hugely important appointment of a new chief executive to replace Stephen Town, who left recently for the greener pastures of the New Zealand Transport Agency.
The narrow range of executives with the calibre to fill Mr Town's shoes will undoubtedly be aware of the council's difficulties over the last three years since Pick 6 stormed into contention by ousting much of Mr Crosby's power base in the 2007 election.
Now, three years later, candidates for the CEO's job will be looking hard at the new line-up and whether they will be stepping into a fresh political cauldron.
It appears unlikely that even this critical decision will be free of ructions.
We have been reliably informed that some councillors favour saving at least $50,000 of personnel consultant fees by allowing the politicians to take a more hands-on role in the appointment process.
To top things off, pressure was likely to come from another quarter in council to cut the huge salary that was paid to Mr Town and for the CEO's slimmed-down pay to filter down into the council's top tier of management.
There should be some confidence that Mr Baldock's political maturity and Mr Christiansen's innate good sense should at least stop things going off the rails.