AFTER four months acting in the role, David Waddell will fill Orange City Council's top job for the next five years.
Councillors endorsed Mr Waddell during a closed meeting on Tuesday night, which the Central Western Daily understands took more than three hours.
But unlike his predecessors, who were known as general managers, Mr Waddell's title is chief executive officer.
Until recently, NSW was the only state to use the general manager term until legislation changed and mayor Reg Kidd said it was moving with the times.
I think it's critical to get some momentum and enthusiasm back into the CBD, help those struggling retailers.Orange City Council chief executive officer David Waddell
"We want to move to the next level for a community our size - we're one of the largest businesses in town, we employ 460 people and have a $150 million budget," he said.
The father of three moved his family to Orange 13 years ago to escape the Sydney grind where he had worked on major projects including the Northwest Metro and the Sydney desalination plant.
An engineer who also holds qualifications in town planning, Mr Waddell worked for GHD Consultants and even produced a vintage for one of the region's wineries before taking on the role of development services director at the council in 2009.
"It's a great job, it's a real honour."
Mr Waddell also said "all eyes" were on the water issue as Orange approaches level five water restrictions.
"We were in a position that's manageable at the moment, but it's not even summer," he said.
"We're working with drought relief committee through the state government looking at short-term emergency projects we can do, whether that be pipelines through the region, whether it be bore fields, we're looking at every option."
However, he said Orange overall was "going really well in many ways" and the CBD upgrade was a top priority.
"I think it's critical to get some momentum and enthusiasm back into the CBD, help those struggling retailers," he said.
Mr Waddell said both the Northern Distributor Road site and Bloomfield would be considered for the $25 million sporting precinct to get the "best bang for our buck".
"We could got to a bad site and spend $5 million on earthworks and not have much left," he said.
He also indicated the life sciences precinct flagged for Bloomfield, which would attract health-related business, might come sooner than expected.
"We're already getting clients coming in and asking, 'would we have a chance to go down there?' - it consolidates a powerhouse in one place," he said.
"Between now and Christmas you will see indications from the state government that they're taking that precinct very seriously and they're opening up planning pathways that make it easier for us to develop that precinct."
He said community consultation was on his radar, maintaining an open door policy and hoping to make better use of the council's committees, where many members of the public serve.
"I see a lot of minutes come up from those committees - I think we need to make sure each of the committees is having tangible outcomes for the volunteer time they give to council," he said.
"They need to have projects, they need to have initiatives going that they see hitting the road."
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