Leader makes mark with cabinet changes

LEADER Dan Humphreys has put his stamp on Worthing Borough Council’s top table by bringing in fresh faces to ‘drive regeneration’ across the town.

WH 130614 Mayor Making at Worthing Town Hall. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-140613-133237001
WH 130614 Mayor Making at Worthing Town Hall. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-140613-133237001

Cabinet member of six years Mary Lermitte has lost her customer services role to Heather Mercer, who was re-elected last year after resigning in 2009 to pursue a career overseas.

The council finances will be overseen by Goring’s Mark Nolan, who was heavily tipped to become leader when Mr Humphreys was appointed in January.

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The leader said: “For me it’s about finding people who are good for the job and we have got a surplus of those in the group at the moment.

“It’s a big and talented group at the moment so it wasn’t necessarily easy but both Mark and Heather have made a good impression on the council.”

Mrs Lermitte said she was ‘disappointed’ by the decision but felt it fair someone else should get the chance to be a cabinet member.

She was not the only experienced member to lose out, though, as chair of planning of 11 years Joan Bradley was removed from the committee entirely.

Also the council’s design champion, Mrs Bradley said: “I’ve given it up. I’ve done it for a long time and we’ve really had quite a lot of new councillors who have got to have the chance to get experience.

“I’ve got a year before I’m up for election and I’ve not yet decided which way I’m going to jump.”

Kevin Jenkins, elected last year, will take Mrs Bradley’s place, while new councillor Nigel Morgan replaces Michael Cloake.

Experienced Selden councillor Keith Bickers, who led an investigation into Worthing Theatres this year, has been rewarded with vice-chair of the overview and scrutiny committee.

Central ward councillor Vino Vinojan was previous vice-chair.

Mr Humphreys said there were ‘no bad reactions’.

He said: “We’ve got a good, balanced, team ready to drive things forward in Worthing and drive the regeneration of the town forward and serve our constituents even more.”

On the other side of the council chamber, the Liberal Democrats have chosen former mayoress Norah Fisher to step in as deputy leader, after Broadwater’s Vicky Taylor stood down.

The positions will be confirmed at full council on Friday afternoon.