Thursday, May 24, 2007

John Dehaney elected as Mayor of Merton

At the Merton Annual Council meeting on Wednesday night, John Dehaney a Labour councillor in Graveney and the Deputy Mayor for the last year was chosen to succeed Geraldine Stanford as Mayor of Merton. This is the first time in six years that a male mayor has been elected and John is only the third non-white mayor in Merton's history to be elected as mayor. Like last year, the status quo remains with the council at 30 all and a Conservative administration without a casting vote at full council.

With the current situation being like it is in Merton, all councillors were in attendance on Wednesday night, from the Labour side the last two councillors arrived at 7-14, a minute before the start of the Council meeting. This is always a nerve wracking experience especially as the Conservative would've moved a mayoral nominee if we did not have a full turnout of councillors.

John along with his wife and Mayoress Audrey will make a fantastic mayoral couple over the next year and I'm really pleased for both of them. I have known John as a colleague for the last five years and in that time I've found to be hard working, loyal and dedicated to his position as a councillor.

John Dehaney has chosen Philip Jones as his Deputy Mayor, Philip was first elected to the Council in 1971 and has undertaken a number of roles including being Leader of the Council, Chair of Planning and most recently Chief Whip to the Labour group. Philip has been an outstanding ambassador for the Council over a number of years and his new position his thoroughly deserved and recognition of his long service on the Council.

A tribute should also be paid to the outgoing Mayor Geralidne Stanford who done a fantastic job as a Mayor over the last year and raised a record £50,000 for her mayoral charities Faith in Action along with Merton and Morden Guild.

In terms of other business at the AGM, Corina Edge has left the Cabinet and it's been reduced to nine members, they've also appointed three Assistant Cabinet members in Henry Nelless, Krystal Miller and Linda Scott. Within the Merton constitution, they have no constitutional position or executive powers, the Labour group awaits with interest their exact role and any constitutional amendments that the Tories bring forward to legitimise their position. On the vote endorsing the Cabinet, both the Merton Park Residents and Labour abstained with just the Tories voting in favour.

I have been re-elected for a second year as chair of The Way We Work scrutiny panel, Rod Scott has also become Vice Chair in place of Henry Nelless, Rod is a colourful character on the Council and it should be fun working with him over the next year. The Council also appointed me as a representative to the LGA Urban Commission.


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