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New council leader Mellor reveals first cabinet – with new coronavirus role

Drew Mellor took over as leader at the BCP last week
Drew Mellor took over as leader at the BCP last week

THE new leader of BCP Council has appointed his first cabinet, including a new role with a specific focus on the coronavirus response.

Councillor Drew Mellor, who was elected last week, has selected 10 councillors to head up the council’s work – all but one of whom have been cabinet members before, writes Josh Wright of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

He said his “knowledgeable and skilful” cabinet would work to “drive our area forward”.

Cllr Mellor was elected as the council’s new leader on Thursday but held off on appointing a cabinet in case the Christchurch Independents accepted his offer to form a coalition.

But Sunday’s rejection meant he has now chosen a wholly Conservative cabinet.

All but one of the 10 councillors selected have served on cabinets as part of the former Bournemouth and Poole councils.

Included in the cabinet will be a new health and education portfolio which will be headed by Cllr Nicola Greene and lead on the council’s response to the coronavirus.

He has also created a ‘community safety’ role through which Cllr May Haines will oversee the council’s work in tackling anti-social behaviour.

Councillor Mark Anderson is his only selection without previous cabinet experience and he will be responsible for environmental issues.

The other appointments are:

  • Councillor Phil Broadhead – regeneration
  • Councillor Mohan Iyengar – tourism
  • Councillor Mike White – children
  • Councillor Karen Rampton – adults
  • Councillor Mike Greene – transport
  • Councillor Bob Lawton – housing

Cllr Mellor will be responsible for finance and the ongoing transformation work.

“We’re delighted to announce our team of experienced councillors who, without exception, are knowledgeable and skilful in their respective areas,” Cllr Mellor said.

“We have already had initial meetings with our superb term of officers at the council and will be working together with councillors of all parties to drive our area forward.”

On top of the cabinet, Cllr Mellor has introduced six new “lead member” positions through which certain councillors will be responsible for overseeing priority areas.

The approach was recently adopted by Dorset Council and has immediately been adopted at BCP Council.

Only three Conservatives have been appointed so far – Hazel Allen (homelessness), Jane Kelly (engagement) and Bobbie Dove (equalities) – with the remaining positions saved for councillors from other groups.

“These cross-cutting roles will be extremely important as we focus on the key areas which need attention,” Cllr Mellor added.

“I intend to work with members from outside our political group to fill further of these roles as we move forward.

“Discussions are already under way and I look forward to making further announcements shortly.”

The first meeting of the new cabinet will be held on 28th October.

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