Wagga's newly-elected leadership team has vowed to create a positive and inclusive dynamic in the council chamber.
Seasoned councillor Dallas Tout and first-time representative Jenny McKinnon were elected mayor and deputy mayor of Wagga City Council on Monday.
The duo come into the roles with vastly different levels of experience, with Cr Tout having served in local government for over two decades while this is Cr McKinnon's very first term as a councillor.
Despite the contrasting backgrounds, the pair share a key common goal which they will be looking to achieve over the course of their 20-month term - creating a council team that works together.
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"It has always been important for me that the leadership of the council sits with the nine councillors," Cr Tout said.
"The mayor and deputy represent their duties and we do other things, but the leadership sits with the nine so that's on myself and Jenny to make sure we represent them appropriately and keep communication lines open with all nine councillors."
Personalities have clashed at times in Wagga's council chamber over recent years and Cr McKinnon said herself and the mayor would be looking to bring an end to the unhelpful culture.
"I think it's a time to forge some really good relationships among the councillors and make sure we have a really co-operative council," she said.
"There have been some issues in the past and maybe not the kind of communication that needed to happen. I think the role of deputy mayor is a special one in that regard where I can actually facilitate that kind of co-operation and communication that needs to happen."
Cr McKinnon admitted she would be facing a steep learning curve being put straight in the leadership role but said she would be doing research, watching old council meetings and speaking to experienced councillors in order to hit the ground running.
The Greens councillor had not been planning to pursue the deputy mayor position when she launched her campaign but nominated for the role after receiving encouragement from her fellow councillors.
Cr Tout was glad to see Cr McKinnon improve the gender representation on the leadership team and said he was looking forward to working with her.
"I plan to work with Jenny the same as with other councillors, but also we'll probably get together regularly just to keep each other up to date with what's happening," he said.
The mayor currently works full-time as a finance manager, but said he has already placed a request to move to part-time to ensure he can fulfill his responsibilities as mayor to the best of his abilities.
He said there will be a number of challenges for Wagga City Council to overcome in the next few years which he would be looking to address from day one.
"We've got to work through COVID whatever that brings for us, there's economic things and so much happening with development and housing shortages," Cr Tout said.
"But as important as that is the social infrastructure of the city and ensuring all the cultural things are in place and we have a really inclusive city."
Lynne Bodell, secretary of the Wagga Residents and Ratepayers Association, congratulated the pair and said the initial signs were positive for the Wagga community.
"I think it all looked quite promising on Monday night and the whole team seemed to work together quite well," Dr Bodell said.
"I think Dallas was a good choice because he has experience in the leadership role and having Jenny there as new blood bringing new ideas was also a good choice."
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