FORMER mayor Sandra McCarthy's long service to the Kiama municipality has earned her the title of Emeritus Mayor.
Mrs McCarthy received the award last Thursday at a Kiama Council reception, held at The Pavilion.
Candidates must receive a nomination from their council and complete at least three one-year terms as mayor.
Later today, she will also be recognised as Kiama's Woman of the Year for 2013 at a reception hosted by Member for Kiama Gareth Ward.
Summarising a successful two weeks, Mrs McCarthy said she was honoured and elated to be recognised.
"It was a role I thoroughly enjoyed," she said of her time at the council.
"In Gareth Ward nominating me [for Woman of the Year], it recognises the role of local government in the community."
Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler, Kiama Council general manager Michael Forsyth and Local Government and Shires Association treasurer Kevin Schreiber all paid homage to Mrs McCarthy's efforts, including her financial management and the completion of Blue Haven, The Pavilion and the Kiama Health Plan.
But it was Kiama Deputy Mayor Warren Steel who retold how her 12-year mayoral term began in 2000, when he and four other independent councillors nominated her to stand against Labor endorsed candidate Joyce Wheatley.
"I wasn't happy with the way things were going and Robert East felt the same way, so we organised a coup and Sandra didn't see it coming," he said.
"She was there for 12 years and we've become great mates.
"We didn't always agree, but we never left the chamber bad friends.
"You've been fabulous - we're very happy with our present mayor, but we miss you."
Mrs McCarthy said her rise to the mayoralty came as a shock and told the audience the Emeritus Award was as much about them as it was about her.
"It was quoted at the time that I wouldn't last and I'd be a one-hit wonder," she said.
"You don't lead a community by yourself - you need to have the support of the councillors, staff and the community."
Among the attendees at the reception to support Mrs McCarthy were Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery, former University of Wollongong vice-chancellor Gerard Sutton, Diocese of Wollongong Bishop Peter Ingham and fellow former Kiama Mayor Arthur Campbell.
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