Tonight saw the first meeting of Wrecsam Council since the elections on the 3rd May. There were no real surprises with Neil Rogers the leader of the 23 strong Labour Group elected Leader and Mark Pritchard, leader of the 9 strong Democratic Independents was elected Deputy Leader.
The politically balanced Executive Board will consist of 10 members, seven of whom are part of the Labour led coalition and who hold Lead Member portfolios. The remaining 3 are from the two opposition groups, Wrexham Independents and the Liberal Democrats (incidentally and even though I am still a Plaid Cymru Councillor I accepted an invitation to join the Wrexham Independents so as to maximise my influence for the benefit of the people of Gwersyllt West).
The portfolio holders are:
Cllr Neil Rogers (Labour) - Economy, Prosperity and Corporate Leadership.
Cllr Michael Williams (Labour) - Education.
Cllr Malcolm King (Labour) - Finance.
Cllr David Griffiths (Labour) - Social Services.
Cllr Mark Pritchard (Democratic Independents) - Housing and Planning.
Cllr Bob Dutton (Democratic Independents) - Environment and Transport.
Cllr Hugh Jones (Conservatives) - Crime and Disorder.
There are 5 Scrutiny Committees broadly broken down to People (Social Services and Education), Places (Housing, Environment and Transport), Economy (Business and Prosperity), Resources (Finance and Performance) and Partnerships. There are also two regulatory committees Planning and Licensing and the two new committees created by the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011, Audit and Democratic Services Committee.
The most interesting development of the night was the undertaking from the Leader of the Council to the effect that his group would forfeit the increase in salary provided for by the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales. What the effect of this is that the 4 Labour Lead Members will donate the difference between the existing senior salary (approx £19,000) and the one recommended by the Independent Remuneration Panel which is £9,000 more at £28,000, to charity!
The other two groups in the ruling coalition gave no such undertaking in respect of their senior salary increases.
It will be interesting as to how this will pan out and how much public interest there will be in senior salaries and salary increases in general, quite a bit i would think.