At last night’s Annual General Meeting of the new Vale of Glamorgan Council the membership of the council’s new 7-strong ruling ‘cabinet’ has been confirmed.
Most of the names had actually been leaked in advance of last night’s meeting [ see PDN http://tinyurl.com/knuopu7 ]– even though none of the cabinet members was officially elected until last night.
As expected, the Executive Leader of the new Vale of Glamorgan Council is confirmed as Cllr John Thomas (Conservative St Athan) (pictured right) who also leads the Conservative Group on the council .Cllr Thomas will also take on the portfolio for Performance and Resources.
The Deputy Leader – as forecast – is to be Cllr Hunter Jarvie (Conservative Cowbridge) (pictured left) who will also be the cabinet member responsible for the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Regulatory and Legal Services.
Cllr Jonathan Bird (Conservative Wenvoe) (pictured right) is to be the cabinet member for Regeneration (a function performed under Labour by Cllr Lis Burnett) and is also in charge of Planning.
It’s also confirmed that Cllr Bob Penrose (Independent Sully) (pictured left) is taking on the education portfolio – or what is now called Learning and Culture. It is Cllr Penrose’s membership of the Conservative Group on the Council which gives the Conservatives the extra seat the party needed to gain overall control of the council but Cllr Penrose he has not joined the Conservative Party itself.
Cllr Andrew Parker (Conservative Cowbridge) (pictured left) is to take on the portfolio for Housing and Building. Returning to the council – and to the cabinet is former Conservative council leader .
Cllr Gordon Kemp (Conservative Rhoose) (pictured right) now becomes cabinet member for Social Care, Health and Leisure . Cllr Kemp was leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council from 2009 to 2012.
Cllr Geoffrey Cox takes on cabinet responsibility for Neighbourhood Services and Transport.
The new Mayor of the Vale of Glamorgan was announced as Cllr Janice Charles. Cllr Charles will be supported during her year in office by Cllr Leighton Rowlands as Deputy Mayor.
Last night Vale Council leader John Thomas promised that “This will be a Council that not only delivers high quality public services but does so in a manner that places local people at the heart of the decision-making process.”
[This was a clear implied rebuke to the previous Labour administration which had frequently pushed through schemes without any public consultation – notably the now-crumbling Penarth Headland Viewing Platform – and the unwanted Skateboard Park in Paget Road] .
Cllr Thomas said the council’s initial focus is to be the Vale’s transport network. A “thorough review and reappraisal” of the county’s infrastructure will begin shortly, with “close attention” being paid to the Eastern Vale [i.e the Penarth Dinas Powys area – giving fresh hope to supporters of the Dinas Powys By-Pass.]
Cllr Thomas also said the council “will also move quickly to improve the way in which the Council supports our town centres and local businesses. Beyond the Vale, I will be working to ensure that this Council plays a leading role in shaping initiatives such as the Cardiff City Deal, to make sure that the area receives the funding it deserves from Welsh Government and other agencies.”
As will have been gathered, there are no women in the cabinet itself and there is no councillor from Penarth amongst the seven members.
Last night’s Annual Meeting was not televised by the council – even though £250,000 was spent by the previous Labour administration on building a new council chamber with £40,000‘s worth of tv facilities paid for indirectly by the UK Conservative Coalition Government.