Cr Katrina Humphries has been re-elected as mayor of Moree Plains Shire Council for the 13th year running, while Cr Greg Smith has retained the position of deputy mayor during Thursday's mayoral election.
Cr Humphries was one of two councillors to nominate for the office of mayor in the election, held during Thursday's ordinary council meeting.
Cr Kerry Cassells also put in a nomination, however Cr Humphries was re-elected to the role for another year during an open vote.
Cr Humphries said she was pleased to be given the opportunity to serve another term as mayor.
"I cherish my position at this wonderful council and am deeply touched to receive the continued support of my fellow councillors and be re-elected as mayor," she said.
"I am looking forward to another 12 months of being mayor and using my position to continue to campaign for the Moree Plains as well as stand up for the bush and rural communities."
It's the first time the position of mayor has been determined by an open vote, put forward by Cr Mike Montgomery and seconded by Cr Jim Crawford to allow for Cr Sue Price to vote remotely, as she was unable to gain permission to cross the Queensland border to attend the election in person.
"She can attend the meeting from a remote location, but it's impractical to have another type of ballot," Cr Montgomery said.
"How do we count it and understand that it's been destroyed? With open voting, we can all see Cr Price and she can see us."
Cr John Tramby opposed the motion to conduct an open vote, preferring to keep it as a secret ballot.
"It's like we are second-class citizens," he said.
"In the state government, if you are not in a meeting, you cannot vote, but it's alright for local government to vote absentee like Cr Price, which I support ... but we're the first nation in the world to bring in the secret ballot ... and I have no desire to lose the treasured secret ballot.
"I can't tear up a system that's been in place for 120 years."
Cr Price said she would have loved to have been at the meeting in person, but because she is currently outside the Queensland border bubble, she was unable to drive to Moree.
"I agree that the secret ballot is what we've always done but I think we all can agree that the circumstances are out of our control," she said.
"I ask for your understanding of this situation, as I would dearly love the opportunity to vote."
Cr Montgomery acknowledged that while the secret ballot is important, he believes Cr Price shouldn't be disenfranchised because the Queensland government wouldn't let her "come to the meeting without punishment".
"She has as much right to vote as any of us do," he said.
The motion to vote openly was carried, with five councillors - Cr Montgomery, Cr Crawford, Cr Price, Cr Humphries and Cr Smith - voting for it, while Cr Tramby, Cr Cassells, Cr Chiu and Cr Ritchie voting against.
As a result, Cr Tramby removed himself from the room, choosing not to take part in the vote.
"I will not participate in such a vote," he said.
"It's too precious a commodity to do it that way. It's no reflection on the individuals standing."
Cr Cassells received three votes - Cr Cassells, Cr Chiu and Cr Ritchie, while Cr Humphries was re-elected with five votes - Cr Montgomery, Cr Crawford, Cr Price, Cr Humphries and Cr Smith.
"Congratulations to the candidates," general manager Lester Rodgers said.
"I'm very pleased to declare Cr Katrina Humphries once again returned to the position of mayor."
It's Cr Humphries 13th year as mayor, having first been elected to the role in 2008.
"I've been doing it for 20 per cent of my life," she said.
Cr Greg Smith was then re-elected unopposed to the office of deputy mayor, for the third year.
"It is an honour to serve as deputy mayor," he said.
"I look forward to driving development in the Moree Plains through many of the initiatives we have secured over the past few years, including the investigation of the Moree Special Activation Precinct."
"I look forward to continuing to work with Katrina and our fellow Councillors."
Cr Humphries and Cr Smith will continue in their tenure as mayor and deputy mayor for another 12 months, following the NSW Government's decision to postpone council elections until September 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.