Guildford Dragon reports
James Palmer (Con, Shalford) the deputy leader of Guildford Borough Council’s (GBC) Executive is resigning his position because of “pressure of increased work commitments outside the council”.
The unexpected announcement came this afternoon in the wake of Cllr Monika Juneja’s departure from the Executive after seven charges had been made against her by the police.
Surprisingly no replacement for either Executive member has been announced; instead their duties have been taken on by existing Executive lead councillors and the Executive shrinks in size to just eight members, four of the from, including the leader and new deputy from Ash wards, on the western edge of the borough.
In a press release a GBC spokesperson wrote: “Due to the pressure of increased work commitments outside the council, Cllr James Palmer will step down as deputy leader of the council and lead member for infrastructure onSunday 31 August.
“Cllr Nigel Manning [Con, Ash Vale], lead member for finance and asset management will become deputy leader of the council.
“Cllr Matt Furniss [Con, Christchurch] will take on an expanded portfolio and become lead member for transport, infrastructure and environment.”
Cllr Palmer works full-time as a solicitor and his difficulty in balancing career and council work has previously been apparent. His previous resignation from the Executive was part of the chain of events that led to Cllr Mansbridge’s takeover as leader from Cllr Tony Rooth in September 2012.
The planned moves within the council’s Executive will be made later this month.
Cllr Stephen Mansbridge (Con, Ash South and Tongham), leader of the council, said: “I would like to thank Cllr Palmer for his time on the Executive, initially working on the town centre and latterly on infrastructure solutions for the borough. Cllr Furniss will take on this important area of work alongside his existing portfolio, and Cllr Manning will move into the Deputy Leader role.”
“We continue to develop a new Local Plan for the borough – we have appointed a highly experienced interim head of planning who will start work on Wednesday 3 September. A new planning policy manager is working with our team and is proceeding with a thorough two-month take over from the interim post holder.
Cllr Mansbridge added: “Our work on the Local Plan continues to be supported by a team of experienced and knowledgeable planning professionals. The changes to the Executive and our planning team will ensure the process and many other aspects of council work are managed and overseen in the best and strongest possible way.”