The freshly elected Armidale Regional Council met for the first time on Wednesday and selected its mayoral team.
The mix of fresh faces and experience had met in the first week of January for the first of a series of induction workshops to prepare them ahead of being sworn in to perform their first official duties.
Only two nominations were received for the position of mayor - those of Sam Coupland and Debra O'Brien.
In his nomination address to the council, Cr Coupland said any success he had in the past had been about harnessing the talents of those around him, having difficult conversations where necessary (even when they were directed at him), and always being honest in his interactions.
To illustrate this point, Cr Coupland went around the table alphabetically and highlighted the strengths of each public servant as he perceived them to be.
According to Cr Coupland: Cr Gaddes has a highly developed strategic brain; Cr Galletly is engaging and can smell a rat from 50 paces; Cr McMichael is an advocate for those who walk a more difficult path than most, Cr Mepham has the tenacity always to make decisions in the best interest of the region; Cr O'Brien's commitment to the area cannot be doubted, and she will always advocate strongly for what she believes is right; Cr O'Connor's council experience is invaluable, and she will prosecute the issues and hold all to account; Cr Packham's diverse career has given him a well-honed problem-solving ability; Cr Redwood brings a dogged determination combined with an ease of interacting with and guiding those around him; Cr Robinson is diligent, and a deep thinker and a force to be reckoned with; and Cr Widders can view the region through the lens of different sections of the community.
A majority then elected Cr Coupland with the only three voting exceptions - Crs Robinson, McMichael and O'Brien.
Before chairing his first ordinary council meeting, Mayor Coupland thanked his fellow councillors for affording him the honour of serving the region as mayor.
"I genuinely believe we have a fantastic mix of skills and experiences on this council," Cr Coupland said.
"And I'm excited by the opportunity to harness that talent for the betterment of the region.
"The eyes of the community are rightly on us.
"My sense is their gaze is one of expectation in what we will be able to achieve in this term. So let's exceed that expectation.
"Let's do what is needed, and let's work well together to make our region prosperous. It's going to be a great term."
Two nominations were received for the role of deputy mayor, with both Debra O'Brien and Todd Redwood throwing their hats into the ring.
Cr Redwood said he believed he would be a seamless deputy to the mayor in his pitch to those present.
"When I spoke to Sam, and he said that he intended to stand for mayor, I said that I would stand for deputy to be a supporter," Cr Redwood said.
"I believe the position is an important one. To be a sounding board for the mayor and be a conscience at times, perhaps.
"I have very broad experience throughout the world, dealing with people from all walks of life and have the ability to be able to to deal with those people...and support those people through what they what they need to do."
Councillor Redwood was declared deputy mayor with the same majority of councillors that voted in Mayor Coupland.
Armidale Regional Council then agreed to delegate many functions to the mayor regarding the management of council meetings and business, external relations and representations, organisational accountability and performance management, the mayoral and civic role, and the general authority of council during recesses.
It was also resolved to fill casual vacancies using a vote countback in the first 18 months following the Armidale Regional Council Local Government election to allow the council to fill vacancies at a lower cost than holding a by-election.
Mayors elected by councillors usually hold their office for two years unless a casual vacancy occurs, but this term will be shorter due to the postponement of the ordinary council elections.
The next mayoral election will be held in September 2023.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Follow us on Google News Showcase