Jamie Chaffey has been at the helm of Gunnedah council for several years but now he's taken the reins of a much bigger council body.
The Gunnedah mayor has been elected as the Chair of the Country Mayors Association - the second local to fill the position after Katrina Humphries chaired the body for four years.
Elected unopposed to the role, Chaffey will also have two familiar faces with him after Tamworth mayor Russell Webb and Armidale council's Sam Coupland were elected onto the executive.
"The Country Mayors Association of NSW has a proven record of speaking up for our 76 member councils representing more than three million residents - that's about 37% of the state's population," Cr Chaffey said.
"It's a big task, particularly in a year like 2022 when local government is facing extreme financial pressure from inflation, material shortages and price increases, staff shortages and energy price increases, amongst other challenges.
"Add to this the unrelenting natural disasters impacting on 126 of the state's 128 councils, and our communities are clearly in need of strong representation at the highest level."
The association aims to put regional issues at the forefront of government attention, and aims to play a key role in next year's state election.
"This is our strength as an organisation. We have agreed in principal on a list of state election priorities that will be endorsed in a matter of weeks and then presented to all political parties calling for action in the areas of skills and education, health, roads and transport, water security, housing, law and order, telecommunications blackspot coverage, and disaster preparedness and funding," Mr Chaffey said.
Chaffey had been the deputy chair of the association since 2020, and had been on the executive since 2019. His deputy will be Temora Shire's Rick Firman.
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