Originally appeared in Armidale Independent on .

By MATT NICHOLLS

DAMIEN Connor says he is looking forward to life in the Northern Tablelands.
The new general manager of the Uralla Shire Council has travelled across Australia and halfway around the world in his working life, but says the time is right to settle down.
In many ways, he is returning to his roots.
Born in Armidale, Mr Connor, 35, grew up in Inverell before heading to Newcastle, where he tried to forge a rugby league career with the Knights.
He didn’t make the cut as an NRL player, but became renowned as one of the better football players in the bush, coaching sides in Gunnedah, Forbes and Cobar.
But his rugby league prowess didn’t see him land the job in Uralla.
Mr Connor said his background in local government and past performances gave him the upper hand.
“General manager jobs are pretty competitive around the country now because there are a lot of good people in local government,” he said.
“I think I just relied on my background and proven track record in delivering results.”
Most recently, Mr Connor was the executive manager for organisation performance and governance at Clarence Valley Council in Grafton.
He said it was important for Uralla Shire Council to stick to the “basics” as pressure mounts on local government around the country.
“The most important thing is to make enough income to offset expenses, renew infrastructure and engage with the community,” he said.
Mr Connor said the best part of the new job would be creating a new home.
“It’s been part of our longer term goal to make a home somewhere and settle down,” he said.
“We really enjoyed chasing jobs, but it’s nice to be close to home.”
His wife Melanie has family in Armidale, Walcha and Inverell, while Mr Connor’s mum still lives in Inverell.
The couple have two children who will start school in the next few years.