New council positions confirmed at annual meeting

A raft of new appointments have been made at Herefordshire Council prompting an angry response from some political party members.

The 12-strong Liberal Democrats group moved to wrest the chairing of the communities scrutiny committee from Greens group leader councillor Ellie Chowns.

The group also took control of the scrutiny management committee from Independents for Herefordshire (I4H) leader councillor Liz Harvey.

Ms Chowns said the move “violated” the principle of proportionality.

She said the controlling Conservative group "feel that it suits them to have their Lib Dem allies in charge of scrutiny".

The changes happened at the council's annual meeting on Friday.

Meanwhile, non-aligned councillor Jim Kenyon chose to step down from the children and young people scrutiny committee, saying this “isn’t doing what it should” and that he had been “closed down” for raising concerns.

He recently claimed in one such meeting that concerns of foster carers over the county’s fostering system were not being listened to.

“I can be more effective just asking questions at the start of meetings,” he said.

Scrutiny committees are the means by which elected members oversee policies and the work of officers across the different areas of council activity.

Other committee chairs remain unchanged.

Conservative leader Jonathan Lester was reconfirmed as council leader, with the support of other independents.

The Lib Dems, Greens and I4H abstained from the vote, giving Mr Lester 25 out of the 50 votes cast.

Fellow Conservative councillor Roger Phillips remains chair of the council, with councillor Stef Simmons of the Greens as vice-chair.

This news was gathered by the Local Democracy Reporting Service which covers councils and other public service organisations.

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