HARTLEPOOL mayor Stuart Drummond has finalised plans for his new cabinet following the recent local elections.
Mayor Drummond axed six Labour councillors from his cabinet back in February after they failed to support their own budget proposals, but delayed restructuring his team until after the elections earlier this month.
He wrote to all councillors following the elections to see if there was any interest in being part of the cabinet, but after a minimal response Mayor Drummond has appointed three independent councillors to form the new-look set up.
Long-serving Seaton Carew councillor Cath Hill will continue on the cabinet for the 11th consecutive year, while there is a return for Councillor John Lauderdale, who had a four-year spell in the role, and Councillor Paul Thompson, who also represents the Seaton ward.
Mayor Drummond said: “I wrote to all the returning and newly elected councillors asking them if they would be interested in being part of the Cabinet and I think it’s fair to say that the responses were few and far between.
“I even offered the opportunity to the largest political group to put some names forward that they could support on the Cabinet but, sadly, nothing was forthcoming.
“It has given me the opportunity to create a small but really strong team of independent councillors who do not have to worry about becoming embroiled in party politics when it comes to Cabinet business.”
Mayor Drummond added: “I believe I have an incredibly strong Cabinet for the tough year ahead and we are all really excited facing up to the challenges that lie in wait.
“I’m also going to be doing something a little differently this year, and I’m currently in the process of setting up a community advisory panel which will effectively be an extension of the Cabinet, made up from a small number of people with specific areas of expertise.”