Christine Ferguson is stepping away from her job farming prime lambs and cattle on her Gundagai property to take on the huge task of running the new Gundagai Council.
This week, Cootamundra and Gundagai Shire Councils were told they would amalgamate despite defiant opposition from both communities.
In handing down this mandate, the State Government also sacked all councillors and both mayors, instating Ms Ferguson as administrator.
Ms Ferguson is not so quick to dismiss the value of councillors however saying she intends to speak to each person with the intention of forming an advisory committee.
“I will be speaking to all councillors over the next few days and will be asking them to stay on as a committee to advise myself and the interim GM (Ken Trethewey) on what should be done in the shire; they are the ones with all of the knowledge,” Ms Ferguson said.
She has lived in Gundagai for 38 years and held a number of administrative roles in the National Party during that time.
Ms Ferguson was was elected the party’s federal president in 2012.
Last year she was honoured with life membership by the Nationals at the party’s state conference.
Federal Nationals leader Warren Truss said at the time Mrs Ferguson had been “a great friend and champion of the party” at the conference.
Ms Ferguson was also a Gundagai Shire Councillor between 1991 and 1995.
During that time she was deputy chair of Riverina Regional Library and a founding member of Riverina Tourism.
Through her Local Government experience, Ms Ferguson said she has a strong understanding of how councils work.
She is not faced with an ordinary task however, with plenty of animosity in both towns and surrounding villages over the decision to merge the two shire areas.
“A lot of people weren’t happy with the decision but the decision has been made and we have to make sure it works,” Ms Ferguson said.
She said she will be meeting with as many people as possible in the community over the coming days to explain what has happened.
Ms Ferguson reiterated that all Local Government jobs will be secure for the next four years.
Similarly rates will stay locked at their current level across the new council area for four years.
With the merger comes a kitty of $15 million from the State Government.
Ms Ferguson said she will be consulting with the community as to where this money should be spent.
Mrs Ferguson will spend this weekend in Sydney undertaking an intensive briefing on her new role.
She told the Cootamundra Herald she did not apply for the job, rather received a tap on the shoulder from the State Government.
Mrs Ferguson said she was compelled to accept the position as she would rather see a local looking after the new shire than someone from out of town.