August 21 2014 Latest news:
Story by: JOHN ELWORTHY
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Newly elected county council Steve Count of March promised today that the move to a committee system was “designed to encourage participation – we will share responsibility”.
His introductory remarks upon becoming leader were broadcast live as part of a trial by the county council to stream meetings via You Tube.
Cllr Count, who replaced Whittlesey councillor Martin Curtis, paid tribute to his predecessor and said the legacy left him “is a good one”.
He said: “Cambridgeshire is a shining beacon of light in the country, a jewel in the crown. Our efforts in delivering economic prosperity to all are there.”
Cllr Count said that despite unemployment coming down and growth rising, the next five years “at least” would be tough for local government.
“Budgets will continue to be cut, there are huge deficits out there and we must play our part,” he said.
“One thing the public is tired of is petty pontificating in politics. We must all work together to face challenges.”
He also spoke of “embracing the opposition” and of finding areas “we can unite behind”.
In a full council meeting notable by its good humour – and frequent laughter- Cllr Count was warmly welcomed by councillors on all sides as he fielded a question and answer session.
Cllr Count, in addition to becoming leader, will also chair the general purposes committee, with Councillor Mac McGuire as his vice chairman.
Among other new appointments today were UKIP county councillor Paul Clapp of Wisbech who will chair the new committee which looks at social work and social care for adults.
His deputy will be Ely Conservative councillor Anna Bailey.
Earlier Cllr Curtis had written on his blog of his reservations about the switch from cabinet to committees.
“I am now clearer than I have ever been that a move to committees is no longer supported by the majority of the council,” he wrote.
“I have had many opposition councillors tell me over the last year that they now realise the early decision was wrong (incidentally this includes councillors from every single political group in Cambridgeshire County Council).
“But a less informed, less well advised decision has won the day.”