Half of Merthyr Tydfil Council’s cabinet are women for the first time in the authority’s history.
The announcement of the new cabinet means three of the six cabinet members are female and two of them are new councillors.
Councillor Geraint Thomas, independent, was elected leader at the recent AGM following a tied vote with the mayor Councillor Declan Sammon, independent, using his casting vote to vote for Cllr Geraint Thomas.
This came after the council election in May saw a tie with 15 independent councillors elected and 15 Labour councillors elected.
Cllr Geraint Thomas, who will remain as cabinet member for housing and regeneration, served as deputy leader for the previous 16 months and his fellow cabinet members include Councillor Julia Jenkins, independent, who has been appointed cabinet member for social services and Councillor Michelle Symonds, independent, who is cabinet member for housing and public protection, crime and disorder.
Councillor Andrew Barry, independent, returns to cabinet as the member for governance and resources and becomes deputy leader and Councillor David Hughes, independent, also makes his return to cabinet as the member for neighbourhood services while Councillor Michelle Jones, independent, takes on responsibility for education.
Cllr Geraint Thomas said: “This is the most diverse cabinet in the county borough’s history – possibly in Welsh political history.
“I’m thrilled to see two talented and ambitious people join our hard working and experienced team, and welcome back Cllr Andrew Barry to his role as Cabinet Member for Governance and Resources, Cllr David Hughes as Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services and Cllr Michelle Jones Cabinet Member for Learning.”
“It’s an honour and privilege to be leader of the authority in the town where I was born and grew up.
“I’ve learned a great deal about public service in the five years I’ve been a member of the council and am confident that we’ll continue to help improve the quality of life for our residents.
“We are acutely aware of the current cost of living crisis, and the anti-poverty agenda will be high on our list of priorities.
“We’re also aiming to work with partners to tackle the continuing uncertainty surrounding local bus services. We’re very proud of our award-winning bus interchange, and want to make sure our residents are able to make the best possible use of it.
“The new cabinet will aim to build on our success in transforming the council and work alongside our excellent officers in making Merthyr Tydfil the best it possibly can be.”