What is a mayor?
They might be the leader and spokesperson for council, but Cr Jo Armstrong is much more than that.
Cr Armstrong was sworn in during the council's statutory meeting in the evening of Tuesday November 9, with the 2021-22 term to be her third term as mayor.
Cr Armstrong said a day in her life as mayor "varies greatly" and she must keep a "flexible mind".
"It is really stimulating, you could never say that there is a boring day," she said.
"You can have a set schedule but then there can be anything else that springs up that can change things.
"That can be not just in council life but in my own life and in my own business life."
Cr Armstrong not only balances mayoral commitments but also her farming business.
"The luckiest thing for me is that I am self employed, having my own farming business with my husband so we have a degree of flexibility there," she said.
"I am very fortunate that he is very understanding, we look at my council schedule and then look at the farm jobs that I can fit into the council schedule.
Cr Armstrong said a normal day as Ararat mayor started the night before; checking emails and her calendar.
"In the morning I double check the calendar to make sure I know exactly where I need to go and that I am briefed for whatever event it is that I am going to attend," she said.
"I also make sure that I have asked any questions beforehand so I am not left in the dark."
Cr Armstrong said the Christmas period was always a busy time for council.
"The calendar is quite chockers at the moment because there are events in the evenings and afternoons," she said.
"This time is wonderful because it is the end of the school year and Ararat Rural City Council is very proud to sponsor awards for students at every one of our municipal schools.
"Events that I can't attend Cr Sanders has been terrific and has been able to go, we share the responsibility.
"That is the wonderful thing about having a deputy mayor, there is someone who can either attend events with me or he can fill in for me if I have another commitment."
The organised, Cr Armstrong, pulled out her calendar to detail her schedule ahead of Christmas.
On December 9 she attended the Maroona Recreation Reserve event where the Avenue of Honour commemorative plaque was unveiled.
This event also served as a book launch for Kieran Galley, Cr Armstrong explained.
"That was significant because we had a great number of people from the present community but also people from days gone by returning to Maroona," she said.
"It was a real reunion, it was great to see generations of families there."
On Friday December 10 Cr Sanders attended the Ararat North Primary end of year celebrations due to Cr Armstrong having prior commitments.
"On Monday (December 13) I attended the Pomonal Primary School awards, which very neatly dovetailed into being able to get back in town in time to attend the Ararat West Primary School awards - so two in the one evening," she said.
On Tuesday December 14 Cr Armstrong had farm commitments and Cr Sanders had another community organisation commitment.
As a result former mayor, Cr Beales attended the opening of the Mininera Recreational Reserve and Willaura Recreational Reserves openings after their upgrades.
"That was another example of the council operating as a team to help each other out," Cr Armstrong said.
"(Later that night) I attended the Ararat College presentation evening held at the Ararat Town Hall."
On December 15 Cr Armstrong attended an announcement about the digital twin project by the Minister for Planning and Housing Richard Wynne at an Ararat farm.
"That was a great event to be at, which really highlights those partnerships that council has been working so hard to build," she said.
Later that day Cr Armstrong had a meeting of council related business followed by attending Ararat Primary School's awards.
On December 16 Cr Armstrong attended the Lake Bolac P-12 College for their presentation followed by the Ararat Council Christmas dinner.
"It is really nice that we (councillors) can have that and catch up in an informal setting," Cr Armstrong said.
"That covers the range of a week."
Cr Armstrong said she had enjoyed seeing how each community event contributes to town.
"It is really exciting getting a sense of how lots of individual projects and events are not so individual," she said.
"They all pull in together to create that big picture we have for Ararat."
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