Like him? Of course as Melton hands plum Cabinet finance role to March garage man

NEWLY re-elected council leader Alan Melton brought one of his most outspoken critics in from the cold today and appointed him to one of the key roles within Fenland Council.

March garage boss John Clark has accepted the key role of portfolio holder for finance in the new Cabinet line up announced by Cllr Melton.

“John has shown a keen interest in the council’s finance,” said Cllr Melton. “He will bring a new pair of eyes to this role.”

Cllr Clark was one of those who fought for the leadership last year and looked to have aligned himself with a small rump of Tories opposed to Cllr Melton.

Coming into Cabinet for the first time will be Councillor Jan French, a former planning committee chairman and more recent chairman of overview and scrutiny.

She’s been handed a new role of enforcement, planning improvements, conservation and section 106 developer obligations. She, famously, made a name for herself after conducting an inquiry at Fenland Hall and discovering lax methods of monitoring hundreds of thousands of pounds of such payments.

Her ‘reward’ then was to be unceremoniously isolated by the former leader Geoff Harper but she was brought back as chairman of one of the overview and scrutiny committees once Cllr Melton became leader.

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Other appointments:

Deputy leader: Chris Seaton

Growth and Transport: Kit Owen

Environment: Peter Murphy

Rural affairs: Ralph Butcher

Wisbech affairs: David Oliver

Special projects: Mac Cotterell

There is a quick return to front line politics for Councillor Pop Jolley who, back at Fenland Hall after a five year absence, landed the chairmanship of overview and scrutiny committee.

Councillor Florence Newall will look after corporate governance , Councillor Roger Green planning, Ken Mayor staff and Kay Mayor.

Another surprise was that of the setting up of a new tourism committee to be chaired by Councillor Jonathan Farmer.

“He is ideally placed to carry out this role,” said Cllr Melton. “He reperesents Wisbech where there is so much information circulating regarding our commitment to tourism.”

Cllr Melton, with what many will see as delicious irony, refused to appoint a chairman to the standards committee.

“To be advised,” he said.

The committee is likely to be wound up once the Government clarifies the future of the standards regime.

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