Monday was the new Armidale Regional Council general manager's first day on the job.
After a meet and greet with media in the morning, James Roncon says he spent the day in meetings and catching up with people to get a 'lay of the land'.
"I had a meeting with the mayor mid-morning and John Rayner [former acting general manager] a couple of times throughout the day, so it was pretty full-on," he said.
"I'm more a listener than a talker, so it's really about asking questions and taking things in. But I'm aware of events because it was laid out to me in the interview, and I subscribe to the Armidale Express, so nothing was a surprise to me."
Since the departure of former council boss Susan Law in July 2020, the role has been filled by interim managers.
Before Mr Rayner arrived, a temporary acting manager, David Kerr, was seconded from Sydney's northern beaches to oversee the council.
Mr Roncon said the priority in the next few weeks is to develop an understanding and not spend too much time researching the past.
"Mainly that's because people will want to share those stories with me anyway, and it is always handy to know the background but from the council's perspective it's about drawing a line in the sand to move forward," he said.
"We need to make sure if relationships have broken down we are in a position where we can start to restore those and ensure people get back the confidence that their council can deliver what is important to them."
Mr Roncon has had more than 23 years of experience in senior leadership and executive management roles across public and commercial business sectors, including the position of general manager at Broken Hill City Council since April 2016.
"Listening to people on my first day, I was drawing a lot of parallels with the time I first started at Broken Hill and needed to recruit a raft of senior executives," he said.
"There was also some disarray amongst senior councillors and former senior staff, and those relationships needed to be built.
"Councillors have a very important role to play, and we need to get information to them to help them make informed decisions. There are some key experiences I have had that will mean we can make some inroads fairly quickly."
Working for the council in Armidale has been part of his career plan for years.
"For me, it was about opportunity and timing," he said.
"I'd been offered a five-year extension of my contract at Broken Hill, and I was weighing that up. From my perspective, Armidale Regional Council was always well and truly on my career radar.
"I'd never really coveted going to Parramatta or Sydney councils - working in a larger regional council has always been something that appealed to me, and Armidale really ticked that box.
"Over the last 20 years I've probably visited about seven times, and I've always thought to myself what a beautiful place it is and that if the opportunity ever presented itself to work as a GM at somewhere like Armidale, I'd jump at it."
Mr Roncon says he is surprised that Armidale hasn't kicked on as much as he'd expect it to during that twenty-year period.
"I don't think it has reached the dizzy heights that I'd expected it should," he said.
"I think there is a great opportunity for Armidale from a tourism and marketing perspective because with the change in remote working during the pandemic there is a real opportunity for regional towns like Armidale to attract people.
"The new business park and renewable energy also present some great opportunities for economic development and population growth over time."
Mr Roncon and his wife Pam are good examples of that remote working zeitgeist. He says she has been able to continue her existing role in building and planning in local government remotely with no impact on her work.
The couple have bought a home in Armidale and are looking forward to getting involved with the local community. Their three adult children will not be moving with them, one lives in Canberra, and two live in Melbourne, where Mr Roncon grew up.
"I really enjoy running, hiking and trekking," he said.
"I'm looking forward to doing the walks and hikes around here and getting back into martial arts."
Mr Roncon has a five-year performance-based contract with Armidale Regional Council.