Jamie Chaffey said his election as Gunnedah mayor was a humbling experience.
It also marked a “personal milestone” for the local business advocate.
“Not everybody gets this opportunity in life,” Cr Chaffey said. “It's very humbling to be elected mayor and representative of the council, something I look forward to.”
He was voted in by fellow councillors five votes to four at council’s ordinary meeting on Wednesday night. Colleen Fuller also stood for the position.
Gae Swain was returned as deputy mayor at the secret ballot. Rob Hooke and Cr Fuller were also candidates.
Prior to his councillor nomination, Cr Chaffey did not intend to run for mayor. But after a few “sleepless nights” and encouragement from his peers, decided to stand for the biggest community gig of them all.
“To have the chance to help shape the future of our community in Gunnedah is very important,” he said.
“I'm sure there will be lots of challenges but I'm coming in with a fresh outlook.
“There's important business to be done and many great opportunities. I'd like to see for the betterment of the community that we take hold of those opportunities.”
I will be very focused I'm out there making the right decisions for the future
It will be a steep learning curve for the first-term councillor who was expected to step down from his position as Gunnedah Chamber of Commerce president.
Despite the challenges, Cr Chaffey was enthusiastic about broadening his horizons in the new role.
“There will be a lot of personal growth coming into the role of mayor,” he said. “I look forward to serving as mayor in the broader region, talking about the great community we have and the opportunities that lie in our region... letting the rest of Australia know just how great Gunnedah is.”
He also thanked outgoing councillors for their service, who continue to form an integral part of the community and made special mention to former mayor Owen Hasler.
“I acknowledge the strong position council is in thanks to him, he has certainly shown a lot of strength in his position as mayor,” Cr Chaffey said. “For him and the rest of council to put us in such a strong financial position is something which should be applauded.”