HALF of the borough's top councillors are set to be removed from the Wokingham Borough Council executive at a meeting this evening.
A week and a half after Charlotte Haitham Taylor ousted Keith Baker with a dramatic two vote win in a Conservative group meeting, she has announced her core team.
With the departure of resident services guru Pauline Jorgensen, Cllr Haitham Taylor is the only woman on the otherwise all male executive.
Taking Cllr Haitham Taylor's place as head of children's services is former planning and regeneration champion Mark Ashwell.
Julian McGhee-Sumner also makes the cut, jumping to adult services, health and well being, and leaving the deputy leader role to David Lee.
Cllr Lee spent three years on the back benches after standing down as council leader in 2014.
There are numerous high profile casualties however.
To add to the departure of Cllr Baker and Cllr Jorgensen, the head of economic development and finance Anthony Pollock, environment chief Angus Ross and highways and transport boss Malcolm Richards all leave the top table.
Cllr Haitham Taylor said: "This Council has always been efficient and innovative, but we are facing challenging financial times.
"Our main sources of funding are being reduced by the Government, placing more of the burden on local businesses and our Council Tax-payers.
"We need Executive Members dedicated to making the Council financially self-sufficient, whilst ensuring that we have resilient public services. At the same time, we need to look at new opportunities to generate creative sources of funding to pay for vital services.”
Provided that the Conservative majority council approve the changes this evening, the new team is as follows:
David Lee - Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Strategic Planning and Highway
Cllr Lee was leader of the council until 2014. He has also been involved with the council’s audit committee and sits on the board of Wokingham’s holding company. He will be responsible for deputising for the leader, and overseeing strategic plans relating to highways and planning.
Stuart Munro - Executive Member for Business and Economic Development and Regeneration
Cllr Munro was first elected to Council in 2005 as Member for Swallowfield. He was previously deputy executive member for economic development and finance as well as sitting on the board of Wokingham’s holding company. He will be responsible for regenerating the Council’s Town Centres and overseeing new ways of bringing outside funding into the borough.
Simon Weeks - Executive Member for Planning and Enforcement
Cllr Weeks was first elected to council in 2004 as member for Finchampstead South. He has previously been an executive member, as well as chairman of the planning committee and the overview and scrutiny management committee. He will be responsible for day-to-day planning issues, including enforcement and the use of developer contributions.
Norman Jorgensen - Executive Member for Environment, Sports, Environmental Health, Leisure and Libraries
Cllr Jorgensen was first elected to council as member for Hillside in 2007, and has been chairman of the council’s holding company. His scientific career includes a PhD in Chemistry and post-doctoral research at Oxford University. He will be responsible for the Borough’s parks, waste collection and leisure facilities.
Julian McGhee-Sumner - Executive Member for Adults’ Services, Health, Wellbeing and Housing
Cllr McGhee-Sumner was previously deputy leader of the council under Cllr Keith Baker. He has been the executive member for health and wellbeing under the previous leader, and has a background in the finance industry. He will be responsible for adult social care and the council’s housing services.
Oliver Whittle - Executive Member for Finance, 21st Century Council, Internal Services and Human Resources
Cllr Whittle was first elected to council in 2016 as member for Wescott. His banking career included becoming Chief Executive of Raiffeisen Bank Albania, and has been involved in organisations that raise money for local charities. He will be responsible for the Council’s budget, customer services, and the restructuring of the authority.
Chris Bowring - Executive Member for Highways and Transport
Cllr Bowring was previously deputy executive member for planning and regeneration. He was a consultant in the computer industry for 25 years before becoming a music teacher. He will be responsible for maintaining roads and parking across the borough.
Mark Ashwell - Executive Member for Children’s Services
Cllr Ashwell was first elected to council in 2014 as member for Evendons, and was previously executive member for planning and regeneration. He is president of Wokingham’s football club and has been a school governor for over 20 years. He will be responsible for the borough’s schools and childcare services.