AT the first meeting of Full Council following the recent elections, Monmouthshire County Council has elected its new Leader and cabinet.

The position of Leader was confirmed as Cllr Mary Ann Brocklesby, who is also the Leader of the Labour group. Cllr Brocklesby, who was elected Ward Member for Llanelly at the local elections on May 5, has lived with her daughter in Monmouthshire for over a decade, where she runs her own business helping people tackle poverty and in equality. Cllr Brocklesby is passionate about Monmouthshire’s waterways; protecting its rivers and natural environments is a key ambition.

Cllr Brocklesby said:

“I embrace the responsibility the position brings, to serve the people of Monmouthshire and work with them. As a Labour council we are committed to work with everyone, recognising and celebrating our differences, because it is from this rich diversity that we can find solutions that truly benefit everyone in Monmouthshire… we will work differently, in a collaborative way with communities, businesses and the many voluntary groups.

“By working in partnership together, we can tackle the challenges facing the county by ensuring we listen to everyone, so that we make the right investments for a greener, fairer, sustainable Monmouthshire with an economy where everyone succeeds and is valued. We will be working from now on to ensure we seek input across council in developing our strategic plan for the coming term.”

The new Leader’s responsibilities will include representing Monmouthshire at the Cardiff Capital City Region Joint Committee, Whole Authority Strategy and Direction, Whole Authority performance review and evaluation, regional working, Government relations, amongst other duties.

Outgoing Leader, Cllr Richard John said:

“I would like to congratulate Mary Ann on her election as the new Leader of Monmouthshire County Council and the first ever woman to hold the post, which is a real landmark achievement. I wish her new administration well and as the council is in no overall control, I hope all councillors can work across political divides and find common ground. My group will be a positive and constructive opposition, scrutinising decisions and working hard to find areas where Labour, Conservatives and the Independents can work together.”

Following the election of the new Leader, the meeting of Full Council then confirmed other key positions:

Cllr Paul Griffiths was announced as Deputy Leader and becomes the new Cabinet Member for Economy and Sustainable Livelihoods. Cllr Griffiths’ responsibilities will include: Local Development and Strategic Development Plans, Town Centre and Neighbourhood Investment and Stewardship, Economic Resilience and Sustainable Growth, Skills and Employment, including ‘green’ jobs and apprenticeships, as well as the future broadband connectivity of the county.

Cllr Rachel Garrick – Cabinet Member for Resources

With responsibility for: Finance, digital and information technology. Human resources. Strategic procurement, land and buildings, property maintenance and management, and fleet management.

Cllr Martyn Groucutt – Cabinet Member for Education

With responsibility for: Early years education and all age statutory educations. Additional learning needs/inclusion. Post-16 and adult education. School standards and improvement. Community learning. 21st century schools programme. Youth service.

Cllr Sara Burch – Cabinet Member for Inclusive and Active Communities

With responsibility for: Housing strategy. Homelessness. Community safety. Active Travel. Leisure centres, play and sport. Tourist information, museums, theatres and attractions.

Cllr Tudor Thomas – Cabinet Member for Social Care, Safeguarding and Accessible Health Services

With responsibility for: Children’s services. Fostering and adoption. Youth offending service. Adult services. Whole authority safeguarding (children and adults). Disabilities. Mental health.

Cllr Catrin Maby – Cabinet Member for Climate Change and the Environment

With Responsibility for: Decarbonisation. Transport planning. Local food production, consumption and procurement (including promoting agroforestry and local horticulture). Traffic network planning, public transport, highways (including trunk roads), pavements and back lanes. Flood alleviation (including management and recovery). Waste management, street care, litter and public spaces. Countryside. Biodiversity. Public rights of way. Public conveniences. Parks and open spaces. Trading standards. Environmental health. Public health and licensing.

Cllr Catherine Fookes – Cabinet Member for Equalities and Engagement

Responsibilities include: Community inequality (health, income, nutrition, disadvantage, discrimination, isolation). Benefits. Emergency planning. Welsh language. Democracy promotion and citizen engagement. Communications, public relations and marketing. Working with voluntary organisations. Registrars. Electoral services. Ethics and standards.

By Gwynoro Jones

Former MP for Carmarthenshire, Gwynoro Jones joined the team covering politics in Wales. He has a wealth of experience in politics and has been a regular commentator on radio, TV and in newspapers in Wales. Email: gwynorojones@walesnewsonline.com

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