3:16pm Wednesday 15th May 2013
By Chris Warne
THE Conservative group on Gloucestershire County Council has opted to form a minority administration to run the authority after the party lost overall control following local elections at the beginning of the month.
At the first full meeting of the council since voters went to the polls, Tory councillor Mark Hawthorne was re-elected as the authority’s leader, whilst Cllr Tony Hicks was re-appointed chairman, with Cllr Philip Awford as vice chairman.
By choosing to govern as a minority administration, the Conservative group spurned calls from the Liberal Democrats for an ‘all-party coalition’.
Despite lacking a working majority of 27 councillors, the Tories remain the largest party on GCC with 23 seats, while the Lib Dems make up the largest opposition group with 14 and Labour have nine.
UKIP, which previously had no councillors, now has three, while the Green Party and the People Against Bureaucracy party have one apiece and there are also two independents.
During the meeting earlier today (Wednesday, May 13), Conservative leader Cllr Hawthorne also appointed his eight-member cabinet for the next four years.
It includes Cllr Ray Theodoulou as deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and change, Cllr Vernon Smith as cabinet member for highways and flooding, Cllr Will Windsor-Clive as cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, and Cllr Paul McLain as cabinet member for children and young people.
Cllr Andrew Gravels is responsible for older people, Cllr Kathy Williams will oversee long-term care, while newly elected Dorcas Binns takes the portfolio for public health and communities.
Notably, Cllr Stan Waddington, who had been the driving force behind plans for an incinerator at Javelin Park, is no longer in charge of waste, with that responsibility now being assumed by the deputy leader.
Cllr Waddington does retain his place in the cabinet, however, as project champion for the new highways contract which is currently being negotiated.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Hawthorne said: “My priority is to work together, with councillors of all parties and none, for the good of Gloucestershire people.
“During difficult financial and political times it is more important than ever that the council does all it can to run efficiently, help the vulnerable and protect jobs in our county.”
The council also appointed members to sit on its scrutiny committees, police and crime panel, planning, pension and traffic regulations committees, health and wellbeing board and outside bodies.
For full details of which councillors are to sit on which committees, visit http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/mgListCommittees.aspx?bcr=1 from 5pm today.
The first meeting of the new cabinet will take place at Shire Hall on Wednesday, June 5, at 10am.
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