Armidale Regional Council staff member Robyn Shanahan is celebrating almost a lifetime of service to the community as she begins her 50th consecutive year working in public service.
Not many of us can claim they've only ever had to prepare for one job interview in their life, but Ms Shanahan can.
After completing Year 12 in 1972, she commenced employment with Dumaresq Shire Council the following week.
Demonstrating early in her career that she had a head for numbers working as a cashier, Ms Shanahan later worked as a rates officer in customer service, data entry and administration support. During her employment, she had to adapt to many roles and functions across the organisation.
In 1998 Armidale City and Dumaresq Shire Councils commenced planning for a merger in 2000, and Ms Shanahan worked in the finance and administration team that designed and implemented the merger.
Armidale Dumaresq Council was formed in 2000, and Robyn commenced in a rates officer position where she has remained to this day - surviving another merger in 2016 of the former Armidale Dumaresq and Guyra Shire Councils.
Throughout her career in local government, Ms Shanahan has experienced significant changes in how the council operates.
"Like many people of my era, I have experienced significant technological change in the way we do things," said Ms Shanahan.
"When I first started in local government, everything was quite manual, then came computers, and it all changed with much of what I used to do now automated."
Ms Shanahan said she could remember when the NSW Local Government Act was introduced in 1993 and has been a steady source of knowledge for the community and the organisation when dealing with rates and property matters.
She has been a familiar face to many people in the community as a member of the Armidale City Band since the age of 12. An expert bugle player Ms Shanahan has played at countless Anzac Day ceremonies and hundreds of community events. Emerging as a significant member of the band, Ms Shanahan has performed presidential, secretarial and musical director roles and contributed countless hours over many years to fundraising initiatives.
Armidale Regional Council's manager financial services Kelly Stidworthy said Ms Shanahan had provided a significant contribution to the community both as a staff member of Armidale Regional Council and her participation in and contribution to community events.
"Robyn is recognised as a hard-working, committed and loyal employee and her continued contribution to council and its ratepayers is to be commended," said Ms Stidworthy.
"Her comprehensive knowledge of the Local Government Act and regulation as they pertain to rating and water functions and her expertise in rating and water billing systems has been a constant source of knowledge and advice to the finance team. I look forward to working with Robyn for many years to come."
Ms Shanahan says she has enjoyed her career in local government and would recommend the sector to anyone looking to make a difference in the community they live in.
"Even though there have been many challenges for local government over the years, and we haven't always been the most popular organisation in the community, I still love what I do and believe we have delivered many great projects and initiatives during my nearly 50 years," Ms Shanahan said.
"I have seen so many changes and worked with many wonderful people who all share a collective desire to serve their community."
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