Meet the people making the big decisions in Wokingham
A new mayor, deputy mayor and executive was appointed at a plenary meeting of Wokingham Borough Council.
Councilor Keith Baker, who has served on the council since 2006, was elected mayor of the borough of Wokingham yesterday (Thursday 20 May).
Cllr Baker said, “Being the Borough’s First Citizen is an incredible honor, which very few Councilors actually get, and I am extremely honored to be a part of this small group.
“In many ways, I’m pretty old-fashioned, in that I believe being mayor is something you earn through your contribution to public life, and not just because it’s your turn.
“I would like to make an informal contract between all the advisers and myself. I undertake to be even handed over to all parties and to all advisers.
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He replaces Cllr Malcolm Richards, who was mayor last year and has been a borough councilor for 12 years. He has now retired, his Norreys neighborhood seat being taken over by fellow Conservative Phil Cunnington.
Cllr Abdul Loyes was then elected deputy mayor. He is the first Muslim to hold this post. He said: “I came to England in 1976 at the age of eight. I have always considered England as my home. It is equally an honor and a pleasure to be elected deputy mayor here this evening. And if my parents were alive today, I know they would be very proud to see me here.
“My wife and I raised and educated our children here in the borough and we had a great life. I know this sounds like an advertising slogan, but Wokingham really is a great place to live and work, and I want everyone who lives here to enjoy the great things on offer.
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Cllr Lindsay Ferris, leader of the Wokingham Liberal Democrats, appointed Caroline Smith as mayor and deputy mayor, the decision was rejected by the Tories.
The executive members will remain largely the same this year. You can see the leaders named below:
- John Kaiser, Deputy Chief and Director of Finance and Housing.
- Pauline Jorgensen, Highways and transport.
- Wayne Smith, Planning and Implementation.
- Stuart Munro, Business and Economic Development.
- Parry Batth, environment and recreation.
- Charles Margetts, Health, Wellness and Adult Services.
- Gregor Murray, Resident Services, Communications and Programming.
In the changes, Graham Howe was named executive member chair for children’s services, and Bill Soane was named new executive member for neighborhoods and communities.
The following Deputy Executive Members have been appointed:
- Laura Blumenthal – Equalities, Poverty, the Arts and Climate Change.
- Shahid Younis, Insight and Change.
- Michael Firmager, Environment and Communities
- Phil Cunnington, Health, Wellness and Adult Services.
The political composition of the committees was also determined during the meeting. The Conservatives have a majority on all committees. For the influential planning committee, Cllr Simon Weeks has stepped down as chairman. He was replaced by Chris Bowring, with Angus Ross named vice president.