Presiding over the last meeting of the present Penarth Town Council – the Mayor of Penarth, Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines), last night paid tribute to departing councillors and reviewed the performance of the Labour-run council over its unexpected 5 year stint in power.
The council was in fact elected in 2012 to serve for 4 years but its term of office was arbitrarily extended to 2017 – without any public mandate – because of the Welsh Labour Government’s chaotic and abortive proposals for local authority mergers (mergers which in the end had to be scrapped).
As he closed the council’s final meeting [prior to May 4th’s local government elections] the Mayor said ” It behoves me to say a few words. Some of our members are obviously not standing again “
Cllr Cuddy thanked departing councillors Janice Birch (Labour Stanwell) ,Tracey Alexander (Labour Cornerswell – Deputy Mayor of Penarth) and Rosemary Cook for her “sterling efforts” as Mayor the previous year “in promoting the town and the role of Town Mayor and making lots of money for charity” . [Profiles of the departing councillors appeared on PDN at http://tinyurl.com/mru8fub%5D
He also thanked the remaining councillors who would be standing again for re-election to the council in May except for Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines) who is not seeking re-election to Penarth Town Council.
No mention was made either of Cllr Amber Courtney (Labour Cornerswell) who failed to attend the vast majority of council and committee meetings throughout the 5 year term and who was not to be seen at last night’s final meeting.
Cllr Cuddy thought that during the last 5 years Penarth Council had “progressed – perhaps not as much as we had hoped – but I think we’ve put down the foundations which our successor can build upon.”
He formally thanked the two political parties [ Labour and Conservative] saying “I think we’ve worked very well in achieving our objectives, projects and all other activities”. At this point Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) interjected to remind Cllr Cuddy of the forthcoming Penarth Picnic on April 29th .
Cllr Cuddy went on to thank the staff of the council. he said “It’s been a bit harder than we thought, a bit more friction in terms of our requirements , the way to treat existing staff properly and to recruit others ” . He said the process had taken “longer than we thought” but felt the council had now arrived “at a good place where the staff were visibly working cohesively”. Cllr Cuddy said “there are smiles on faces – even the ground-staff – which is great – and they are proactive in offering councillors options for their objectives and vision”
Cllr Cuddy said that in the council there was now a “mind-set that we can do things” and the profile of the council had been raised both to the public and to the “Welsh Government policy-makers” .
Penarth Council, he said, was now known as an “innovative town council and I wish the next incumbents well on that journey”.