Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Lincoln City Council Expects Smaller Cabinet

Newly-re-elected Labour Leader Cllr. Ric Metcalfe, who retook his seat last Thursday, as Labour wrested City Hall from Conservative controll, has said he was cutting two top jobs from the cabinet.

Cllr. Metcalfe said the aim of reducing the number of people on the cabinet from eight members to six will help the authority make financial savings and improve decision-making.

Cllr. Metcalfe's position as Leader of the Council and the other executive positions are expected to be ratified at the council's annual general meeting on Tuesday, 24th May 2011. He said:

"We plan to reduce the size of the executive committee to improve the effectiveness of decision-making and make financial savings."
Cllr. Metcalfe, who has worked in local government, served as a member of the council since 1982 and was previously Leader of the Council before Labour lost its twenty-six-years of rule to the Conservatives in 2007 continued:

"We will merge the 'customer services' portfolio into 'corporate management', making sure it remains a high priority, and we'll sit 'environment' alongside 'public protection' as we feel the two go hand in hand.

"These are challenging times, but we are determined not to allow this to prevent us from trying to do the very best for the people of Lincoln. We have a very experienced and energetic team providing the leadership the city needs."
The balance of power shifted after Labour secured seventeen seats, compared to the Conservatives fifteen. Cllr. Mrs. Helen Heath remains the sole Liberal Democrat on the Council.

Speaking at the election count in Lincoln to the Lincolnshire Echo, Cllr. Darren Grice, the Conservative Leader, said he was disappointed to lose control of the council.

"First and foremost, I am honoured that the people of Bracebridge have re-elected me for another four years. I am disappointed that we have lost control of the council by one seat.

"It will be interesting to watch, over the next year, Labour trying to build a council with a one-seat majority, as we had to do in our first year.

"The one question I will be asking Ric Metcalfe at every meeting is show us the money. Ric agrees that there has to be cuts. He does not know where yet."
Mr Metcalfe told the Lincolnshire Echo, following his win, that Labour's plans for the authority are to focus on affordable housing and the city's transport links as top priorities.

The new administration also said its main priority was to increase scrutiny at the council, by establishing a new high-profile Community Leadership Scrutiny Committee.

Chaired by Cllr. Ms Karen Lee, Labour (Carholme Ward) the committee will scrutinise plans, actions or decisions made by the council's partner organisations responsible for services in the city.

Cllr. Metcalfe said: "
There are many things that the council does not have responsibility for, but which can have a very significant effect on the lives of the people we represent. We want to be in a position to scrutinise these decisions and speak up for the people of Lincoln."

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