Senior Management

Executive Management Team

An able administration is needed to manage Yass Valley Council, an organisation employing over 150 staff and with an annual budget of $30 million. The focus of the management team is to ensure the continued delivery of excellent services and optimum infrastructure to residents and also visitors who come to Yass Valley for a taste of the region's best.

Yass Valley Council is managed by the General Manager and three Directors.

Chief Executive Officer

Chris BerryChris-Berry-4__ResizedImageWzI1MCwzMTVd.jpg

Chris Berry has a strong passion for local government. He has served as Yass Valley Council's Director of Planning since 2014, making the move from Goulburn Mulwaree Council where he performed the roles of General Manager, Director of Planning and Community Services and Director of Corporate and Planning. He has also worked in local government in Melbourne and Armidale.

Chris has completed 13 years of tertiary study at three universities. He holds degrees in Town Planning, Environmental Science and Business Administration and is a Registered Planner and Fellow of the Australian Planning Institute.

During his time at Yass Valley Council, Chris has risen to the challenge associated with growth in the local government area and the pressures associated with our close proximity to Canberra. Some of his biggest achievements have been the completion of the Settlement Strategy for the future growth of Yass Valley and finalising the Rural Lands Planning Proposal. Far from finished, Chris lists the overhaul of development contributions, implementing rezonings from the Settlement Strategy and Master Planning for Murrumbateman squarely on his agenda.

An avid road cyclist, Chris enjoys riding for both sport and recreation. He also loves travel and tries to combine the two passions as much as possible. 

Phone: 6226 1477

Director Planning & Environment

Julie Costa


Julie Costa joined Yass Valley Council on July 6 2020, bringing 25 years of planning experience to the table. Since graduating from the University of New England with a Bachelor or Urban and Regional Planning, Julie has held positions predominately in regional and rural councils throughout NSW.

Prior to joining Yass Valley Council, Julie served as the Manger of Planning and Environmental Services at Edward River Council in Deniliquin for eight years. During this time, she oversaw several high profile strategic planning projects, including the Deniliquin Public Space Strategy, Edward River Open Space Strategy, Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan and the Deniliquin Masterplan. These projects were used to successfully secure over $7 million in funding from the NSW and Australian Governments to deliver significant infrastructure projects across the local government area.

Julie has a strong understanding of the Local Government sector and has developed sound technical knowledge across strategic land use planning, development assessment, environmental services and compliance.

Julie was attracted to the Yass Valley’s enviable location and excited to provide leadership in a council that is undergoing significant urban growth and expansion. With a strong focus on ensuring Yass Valley realises the opportunities that come with its close proximity to Canberra, Julie is looking forward to implementing the Local Strategic Planning Statement and the Settlement Strategy. She is also keen to ensure effective and efficient delivery of services in the Yass Valley and to build upon community relationships to assist Council in the delivery of these services.

In her spare time, Julie loves gardening, listening to music and spending time with her family.

Phone: 6226 1477

Director Infrastructure & Assets 

Nathan Cooke

Nathan-Cooke.jpgNathan Cooke is a dedicated professional with a strong background in engineering and facilities management. His career began at Yass Valley Council in 2001, where he started as a trainee engineer. 

Over the years, Nathan took on various roles within Council, including survey and design officer, assistant development engineer and construction coordinator, gaining valuable experience and expertise in the field.

Nathan holds an Advanced Diploma of Civil and Environmental Engineering, a Bachelor of Engineering Technology, and a Diploma of Project Management, demonstrating his commitment to professional development and excellence in his field.

In 2008, Nathan moved to Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council, where he served as the Manager of Transport & Facilities for fifteen years. During his time at Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council, Nathan excelled in managing transport and facility operations, ensuring efficiency and compliance with regulations.

In 2023, Nathan returned to Yass Valley Council, bringing with him a wealth of knowledge and a proven track record of success in his field. He is committed to delivering high quality services and making a positive impact in the community.

Nathan sees Yass Valley Council’s biggest strengths as its location, our community and staff. He believes that these strengths are key to Council’s success and its ability to service the community effectively.

Nathan’s main focus over the coming years will be improving Council’s assets, assisting with the delivery of Council’s infrastructure projects and improving services to the Yass Valley community.

In his personal life, Nathan enjoys travel, sports and spending time with his family. These hobbies reflect his active lifestyle and commitment to work-life balance. 

Phone: 6226 1477

Director Corporate & Community

Lynette SafranekLynette-Safranek-cropped3.jpg

Lynette Safranek relocated from Oberon to Yass Valley in July 2021 in search of (slightly) warmer weather. The former Corporate Services Director at Oberon Council has more than 20 years’ experience in management, but not all in local government.

Previously, Lynette spent eight years as an Administration Manager and Acting General Manager with GP training and development specialist GP Logic and two years as Office Manager and Acting General Manager with Local Land Services in Bathurst. She is also a non-executive director of Family First Credit Union.

It was beginning a Bachelor of Local Government Management at the University of Technology Sydney in 2016 that set Lynette on her current path. She is a great listener and enjoys coaching staff to not only achieve their best but also challenge themselves.

Lynette believes the Yass Valley has the best of both worlds, located in a rural setting but close enough to enjoy the benefits of a large city.

Her goals as Director of Corporate and Community at Yass Valley Council include developing relationships with community members, local associations/groups and businesses to assist with developing community events and activities across the region. She would also like to enhance the region’s competitiveness, increase sustainable growth and improve outcomes for the community with a focus on agriculture, small business and the visitor economy.

When Lynette isn’t working, she enjoys exploring the nature and food on offer in small towns and villages, reading and fishing.

Phone: 6226 1477