"The time for controversy and drama is over."
That was Stephen Lawrence's message for the community just moments after being elected Dubbo's newest mayor.
"The time for public attacks and criticism is over, now is the time for stability and a community focus and connection," he said.
Meanwhile, councillor Anne Jones was elected as deputy mayor.
Both decisions were unanimous, however councillors John Ryan, Dayne Gumley, David Grant and Greg Mohr were absent from the vote.
Cr Lawrence described the election as a "line in the sand".
"I'm determined as mayor to make sure we put all of the unpleasantness and drama of the last couple of months behind us and we focus 100 per cent on the community," he said after the meeting.
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He said his role for the next three months would be to "steady the ship" and ensure the current projects at council continue, rather than making operational changes.
The new mayor said he would not be making the position his full-time job.
"There are dangers in some sense of mayors thinking about it as a full-time job. I think it's a healthy situation that our elected representatives are engaged in various other pursuits in the community," Cr Lawrence said.
He said he would be leaning on his colleagues, including Cr Jones, to fulfill council duties.
Cr Lawrence was elected as deputy in 2019 taking the role that had previously been held by Cr Jones. On Thursday, while holding onto her hand, he expressed his regrets at the way it had happened.
"The reason I did it was valid. And I think Cr Jones understands where I'm coming from in that respect but it's something, particularly in the way that it happened, that I seriously regret."
Cr Jones admitted she was "quite annoyed" and "quite hurt" at the time.
"Mayor Lawrence has explained the situation to me... He has apologised and I accept his apology and look forward to really, really working with him in partnership to rebuild that confidence and that trust that previously the community had in both previous councils and to Dubbo Regional Council," she said.
Councillor Vicki Etheridge said she was very happy with the outcome.
"We've got a couple of fresh faces up there with good attitudes and good opinions. Steve will make an amazing mayor. He's very articulate, he's switched on and he's community-minded," Cr Etheridge said.
She said Cr Jones would be an amazing support.
"I'm happy to just forget about the past two months and move on now with our new mayor and deputy mayor," Cr Etheridge said.
"I think we just need to pull each other again as a team and have that one idea of making Dubbo better and pushing it forward because we still have a lot to do. There's lots going on out there that we need to attend to: parking, empty shops, high rises."
Both the new mayor and deputy will remain in the role until the election in September.
At this stage, Cr Lawrence said he didn't know if he would be contesting, while Cr Jones said she would stand again to be a voice for Wellington.
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