Emotional evening for councillors as new Waveney leader is elected
- Credit: Archant
A new leader has been elected for Waveney District Council during an emotional meeting in Lowestoft.
Mark Bee was voted in at the authority's Annual Council Meeting this evening, following the death of leader Colin Law, who died unexpectedly at the weekend.
Mr Law was due to step down from the role at tonight's meeting.
Mr Bee paid tribute to his friend and colleague and pledged to ensure that his achievements laid the foundations for a bright and prosperous future in the district.
He also confirmed the make-up of his first cabinet, with Craig Rivett joining the team for the first time and new roles for Chris Punt and Bruce Provan who return to the executive. Meanwhile Frank Mortimer was chosen as the new chairman of the council and Nick Webb as the deputy chairman.
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Mr Bee previously led the council between 2004 and 2011 before taking up the leadership role at Suffolk County Council. He told those present that he is excited by the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.
'This is a very different council to the one I led until 2011 and so much has been achieved thanks to the leadership of Colin Law, who was a real finisher and helped us to make such fantastic progress,' he said.
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'In due course, I will lay out my plans for the council but for now, I would just like to say that I am a Waveney man who very much wants to see the best for the people of this district. As we move forward, the interests of Waveney will be absolutely paramount and I would like to thank you for the trust you have put in me.'
Councillors signed the book of condolence at Riverside in memory of Mr Law and many took the opportunity to pay their own personal tributes.
Alan Green on behalf of the Labour Group said that Mr Law 'had a great passion for the future of Waveney and we will miss him enormously. Mr Webb, the outgoing mayor of Lowestoft, added that he was a 'great support when I first arrived. A real friend, very humble. We've lost a great servant.'
Meanwhile, chief executive Stephen Baker paid tribute to the relationships Mr Law built with the staff at Waveney District Council.
He said: 'Colin recognised that the staff shared his enthusiasm, his passion, for getting the best for Waveney. He respected and valued them and they had huge respect for him in return. His drive and commitment were second to none. His sense of humour and humanity made him a pleasure to know.'
There were also appointments to a range of council committees, with Sue Allen, previously cabinet member for housing, now the chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.