After the unexpected events at Budget Council on the 22nd February, the Liberal Democrats felt it was necessary to take time and receive further assurances. Following agreements with the new Conservative leader, the Liberal Democrats have announced their team of executive members and spokespersons to continue to move City of York Council forward following a period of interim appointments.
The key positions for the Liberal Democrats, as part of the joint administration, will be:
Cllr Andrew Waller – Deputy Leader of the Council and Executive Member for Environment
Cllr Carol Runciman – Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health
Cllr Keith Aspden – Liberal Democrat Group Leader and Executive Member for Economic Development and Community Engagement
Cllr Nigel Ayre – Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism
Cllr Ann Reid – Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group
Cllr Andrew Waller, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader of the Council, said:
“Our focus has always been the same; we must continue to protect frontline services, deliver for local communities and rebuild confidence in the Council, including promoting transparency at the Council. For example, at my request, a report is to be circulated to Audit & Governance Committee Members, in the first instance, identifying the issues raised in the LGA report.”
“I would like to record my thanks to Keith Orrell and Ann Reid for their outstanding work during their time as interim Executive Members, providing stability for the Council and continuing to ensure progress on key projects like the Community Stadium.
“I am delighted to welcome Keith Aspden and Nigel Ayre back to the Executive. By rejoining Carol Runciman and I we will have an experienced team to ensure that the Council delivers for residents and communities. We look forward to working with the new Council Leader and other Executive Members, who will be appointed in due course as part of the joint administration.”
The new arrangements will see Councillors Keith Aspden and Nigel Ayre be appointed to the new Executive, returning to their portfolios of Economic Development and Community Engagement, and Culture, Leisure and Tourism respectively.
The Liberal Democrat Group has maintained that the actions of the former Council Leader in removing councillors from their Executive positions in advance of any standards process were unjust, unwarranted and unprecedented. The Liberal Democrats believe that it is important that due process is followed and we hope that this will be resolved quickly.
Councillors Ann Reid and Keith Orrell have stepped down from their interim Executive positions. Ann Reid will return to chairing the Main Planning Committee, whilst remaining as Deputy Group Leader. Keith Orrell will become the city’s Lord Mayor in May.
Councillor Keith Aspden commented:
“I am pleased to be returning to my previous portfolio covering Economic Development and Community Engagement and I will be working to ensure that we make progress on York’s economic strategy and continue to make sure that York’s communities benefit from the nearly £1 million a year that we have devolved for local decision-making.
“Since last September, I have taken on new commitments including a Master’s degree. This means that although I will become an Executive Member and continue as Liberal Democrat Group Leader, unfortunately I do not currently have the time to return to the role of Deputy Leader of the Council. I know that Andrew Waller will continue to do a great job in that role. This will ensure that I can continue to work hard in my council responsibilities, including as the local councillor for Fulford and Heslington.”
Councillor Nigel Ayre added:
“The coming months will be crucial for the delivery of major projects in the city. My enthusiasm and commitment to these has never waned and I look forward to playing my part in delivering genuine positive change for the residents of York.”
“We must make sure that we continue to make progress on major projects, particularly the Community Stadium, and our strong commitment to protecting the city’s libraries.”
The Liberal Democrat Group has a number of spokespeople in addition to the four Executive Members. These will be:
Cllr Ian Cuthbertson – Finance and Performance
Cllr Stephen Fenton – Planning and Transport
Cllr Ashley Mason – Education, Children and Young People
Cllr Ann Reid – Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods