CLLR Rebecca Knox was unanimously elected as the new leader of Dorset County Council this morning (Thursday 18 May).
At their first meeting following the election on May 4th, county councillors voted in Cllr Knox as Leader. Cllr Knox subsequently appointed Cllr Peter Wharf as Deputy Leader.
Cllr Knox said: “I know we are proud to have been elected to represent and serve Dorset’s communities. We want to make a difference, with commitment, clarity and courage.
“We are an inclusive council, one which listens to and understands its communities, recognising that each community within Dorset has distinctiveness and varying demands.
“The residents of Dorset have change in their own lives, both individually and as communities, and Dorset County Council continues to adapt and be flexible to that change.
“Financial constraints face us all, but this should not deter us from our collective aim to listen to residents and use evidence to make sure we are delivering the services that make a positive difference to people’s lives. But we can’t do that by ourselves: we will need to work even more closely with our communities, the voluntary sector and partners to support our residents to be safe, healthy and independent, and to make sure that Dorset is a great place to live and work.”
At the council meeting Cllr Knox announced a new-look cabinet – the executive group responsible for the overall business of the council. Three new faces – Cllrs Peter Wharf, Daryl Turner and Tony Ferrari – join existing cabinet members Cllrs Knox, Deborah Croney and Jill Haynes.
Cllr Hilary Cox was elected as chairman – the civic and ceremonial head of the council, with Cllr Andrew Parry appointed as vice-chairman.
Cllr Cox said: “It is a tremendous honour to be elected as Chairman of Dorset County Council. I see my role as a key part of local democracy – listening to and learning from people, promoting causes, and working with residents, staff and councillors for the health and prosperity of our communities.”
Committee chairs were also appointed at the meeting – find the full list at www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/committees/county.
Tributes were paid at the meeting to former Leader Robert Gould, and former Chairman Andrew Cattaway.