Birmingham's councillors have been told to stop griping about the boundary review which could see 20 of them axed and come up with evidence and facts to support their claim to stay.
The warning came from Max Caller, the no-nonsense chairman of the Local Government Boundary Commission (LGBC) which this summer is carrying out a review of council wards in Birmingham.
He was in the city for a series of meetings to outline the review process, which must first decide how many councillors Birmingham City Council needs to be run efficiently and effectively.
And Mr Caller stressed the review would consider evidence, not sentiment or unfounded views.
The former chief executive of Barnet and Hackney councils met with Birmingham's three party leaders and chief executive last month.
He said: "It was a very courteous meeting. People made a number of points. But they need to be aware it is evidence, not assertion which matters.
"One well-defined piece of evidence will outweigh any number of resolutions of the council or petitions which just say 'no'."
The commission was brought in after government troubleshooter Sir Bob Kerslake suggested the council move to all-out elections every four years and swap its 40 three-member wards for 100 single-member wards to improve the link between councillors and their communities.
So far Kerslake's view is the only evidence submitted. Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has also decided to enforce all-out elections every four years which almost certainly rules out uniform three-member wards as at present.
The party leaders - Labour's Sir Albert Bore, Tory Robert Alden and Lib Dem Paul Tilsley - have all stated they believe Birmingham's wards are already too large at an average of 27,000 population split between three councillors, making them among the biggest in the country.
An average of 9,000 per councillor would be increased to 11,000 under Kerslake's proposal they argue - making them more remote from communities.
But Mr Caller admits Birmingham is an 'outlayer' on ward size but also challenges their view - pointing out a councillor has to canvass across the entire 27,000 for each election.
But then adds: "They have got to suggest whether a number is right for them. And it is about the total package, not just a simple ratio."
Whether a full council meeting, the authorities highest decision making body, is effective with 120 councillors or more, or less, is a key consideration, as well as the future structure of the council.
Birmingham is among a number of struggling local authorities working under close government scrutiny following a string of high profile failures - in this case working with an improvement panel.
Mr Caller has recently been working with two others. In Doncaster, in which there has been direct government intervention, the commission oversaw a boundary review in which eight councillors were cut.
In December, Mr Caller was part of a team sent by Mr Pickles into Tower Hamlets following allegation of financial mismanagement by the administration of controversial mayor Lutfur Rahman.
He argues that, through the improvement panel, Kerslake and the LGBC, Birmingham has access to a wide bank of knowledge and experience.
"They are going through a process of thinking about how they expect the council to be run in future and thinking about what needs to change."
Mr Caller will not easily be swayed by claims Birmingham is a special case, pointing out that, in reviewing dozens of councils a year, he has come across some larger in population and others in geographical size - most recently in Cornwall which has become a unitary county authority.
He said: "They say Birmingham is a unique case but every council is unique. Birmingham has a lot of people, but not the most. It's a big place but not the biggest.
"We look at 30 councils a year but for many councillors this is the first time they have been through a review."
So, once the council size is argued, the summer will see discussions over the make up of wards - with the options of single-member wards of approximately equal size or a mix of one-, two- and even three-member wards to reflect community lines or sizes.
Residents can take part in this consultation and even plot their suggested boundaries on an interactive map on the LGBC website.
Here, the city council can pass a resolution for single-member wards or let the commission decide based on evidence. A mix of multi-member and single-member wards in other areas works.
Mr Caller added that it was now up to the city council to decide how far it wished to go: "If they do not talk to us then it will be left to us to work it out for them and it will be our council.
"If councillors engage with us, think hard about the right way ward should be changed, then by and large they will get the result they would want."