New faces at County Council

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NORTH Yorkshire County Council elected a new chairman and has reshuffled its cabinet.

Councillor John Fort BEM was unanimously elected at a meeting in Northallerton this week.

Coun Fort has been a member of the council since 1997 and represents the Pateley Bridge division on behalf of the Conservative Party.

He said: “It is a great honour and privilege to be elected chairman of North Yorkshire County Council, and I am looking forward to my year of office immensely.”

The leader of North Yorkshire County Council, Coun John Weighell, also announced an Executive reshuffle at the council’s annual general meeting which was also held this week.

Coun Weighell said that as the Conservative-led county council had now reached the mid-term of its office, it was an ideal opportunity to take stock and give members the chance of taking up a fresh portfolio.

He also paid tribute to Coun Caroline Patmore who has been the lead executive member for Children’s Services for the last nine years and who is retiring from the post.

Councillor Weighell added that as the county council would be taking on health responsibilities under the Government’s forthcoming health and social care legislation he may create an additional Executive post for health in the future, possibly before the county council’s next annual general meeting.

He said: “We are mid-term through a very tough period of office when we are having to make decisions which ensure we continue to deliver outstanding services while making necessary savings. This seemed like the ideal time to give members the opportunity to take on fresh responsibilities.”

Coun Carl Les, whose portfolio was corporate services, finance and performance management and procurement, has been made deputy leader of the council and also takes on Coun Patmore’s responsibilities for children’s services.

He replaces Cllr John Watson as deputy, who will now be responsible for financial services, assets, IT and procurement..

The county council’s Executive membership is as follows:

* John Weighell - Leader of the Council and Chairman of the Executive. Responsible for budget and external organisations

* Carl Les – Deputy leader of the council and lead executive member for children’s services (Children’s Act 2004) special educational needs, youth justice and chief executive group services

* Clare Wood – Adult social care, extra care housing, telecare, reablement

* Arthur Barker – Schools, 16-19 year old education, early years provision and youth service

* Chris Metcalfe – Rural services, waste disposal, public passenger transport, trading standards, economic development and library services

* Gareth Dadd – Highways and planning services

* John Watson OBE – Financial services including assets, IT and procurement