"I'm excited to be the GM here," says Yass Valley Council's general manager of six months, Sharon Hutch.
"We've got a lovely, well-qualified and dedicated staff. Most of our staff live in and around the Yass Valley and they've got a vested interest in doing a good job because they reap the benefits of it every day," she said.
"Whether I'm director of finance or GM, I still have the same dedication: to make this organisation run efficiently to provide services to the community."
After many years of working for councils across NSW, including Yass Valley for the past three, Mrs Hutch says her focus is on making a difference.
"Working for local government has huge rewards. Simply approving a development application can make someone's dream come true," she said.
Mrs Hutch moved to Yass Valley and joined the council as a business improvement specialist in 2016. She then became the acting director of finance and corporate services until she was formally offered the role.
In September 2018, she became GM, taking the reins from David Rowe, who had held the role for 10 years.
Mrs Hutch grew up and lived in Ryde, Sydney for the first 30 or so years of her life.
Her career started in private sector finance and shifted to local government when hired by Central Darling Shire Council as manager of community and economic development. She and her husband already knew the area as opal mine hobbiests, about 100 kilometres north of the area.
Mrs Hutch also worked for Gosford Council and Broken Hill City Council in finance. Prior to moving to the Yass Valley she was the acting GM at Broken Hill.
Her experience at other councils and time as finance director at Yass Valley had prepared her for now: "I felt ready to become the GM," she said.
"As a member of the senior executive of a council, you are never just focused on your department, you have an oversight of the whole organisation, particularly in finance. Stepping into this role didn't require much more, except the buck now stops with me."
While Mrs Hutch has several internal priorities, including building the community's trust in the council and implementing community engagement training for staff, she says her priorities will be driven by the rate payers.
"What drives the priorities is not necessarily the staff or council, it's the aspirations the community sets. That's why we do that strategic planning, because it tells us what the community's priorities are," she said.
"Councillors are here to represent the community and we're here to implement those decisions. One of the overwhelming things ... is that people want us to protect the rural aspect of living in the Yass Valley and that has driven a lot of the planning we do."
Mark Eady will join the council as the new director of finance and corporate services on April 29.