Mayor-elect vows to steady Shire ship through choppy waters

MAYOR-elect Liz Campbell is ready to roll up her sleeves for a four-year term she says will encompass a crucial period in the shire's future.

The first-ever popularly elected civic leader in the Macleay said there would be major changes throughout the valley brought about by the opening of the Kempsey bypass and by how the council operates.

"We need to be strong in our planning and objectives to be in a position where we want to be," Cr Campbell said yesterday.

"There are changes coming with the bypass and local government.

"There will be some changes to the way we (at Kempsey Shire Council) operate - that's my feeling."

Former councillor Ellis Walker said recently the NSW government was encouraging councils to amalgamate and he felt Kempsey Shire should position itself strongly for a potential merger with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.

The mayor-elect said she was not sure if any changes to local government would roll out in Sydney and then across the State, but said Kempsey Shire needed to be looked at as part of the region.

Cr Campbell said her outlook as mayor would remain consistent with what it always had been.

"It's all about the Macleay," she said.

"I want to make sure in four years' time that we're better off with the roads program, with sustainable employment and that we're managing finances and that people have more confidence in the council's organisation."

Cr Campbell secured a total of 5756 votes (64.5 per cent) to Betty Green's 3043 votes (34.58) in the final tally of votes, after preferences.

She admitted she had not relished putting herself through the election process, but paid tribute to her campaign team, family, friends and the community for the support they had demonstrated towards her.

"They were all amazing," she said.

The final make-up of the chamber remains unclear, with returning officer Alan Wilcox still waiting to receive results of the councillor elections.

He told the Argus yesterday he hoped to be able to declare the outcome formally by this afternoon, ahead of a planned induction session at the council offices on Monday.

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