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Leader confirms cabinet changes and unveils plans to step down

The Leader of Wyre Forest District Council, Councillor Graham Ballinger, has announced a new appointment to his cabinet as well as his plan to stand aside as leader at the council’s annual general meeting in May.

Speaking at the full council last night (Wednesday 24 February), Councillor Ballinger announced that he would appoint Councillor Mary Rayner as a member of the cabinet and that she would take over the finance portfolio. Other minor amendments to cabinet portfolios have also been confirmed.

He said: “I am delighted to welcome Mary Rayner to the Cabinet. She has been a district and county councillor for several years and has effectively served her constituents. I look forward to working with her and being able to draw on her experience and skills from her work as a councillor and from her career as a senior university lecturer in research and management.

Councillor Rayner served most recently as chairman of the council’s Ethics and Standards Committee, and has been replaced in that role by Councillor Anna L’Huillier, who was appointed by council yesterday evening.

Councillor Ballinger also shared with members his plans to stand down from the leadership in May, at the time of the council’s annual general meeting.

He commented “When I was re-elected to the council in May 2019, I was honoured to work with colleagues in various political parties and groups to form the Progressive Alliance and to secure a change in the council’s political direction and leadership. It was a deeply personal honour to be elected as leader in May 2019 – almost 35 years after I had last held that office.

“My term of office as leader ends in May 2023. I have been reflecting on whether I should serve for the full term or, now that we have reached almost the half way point in the life of this council, stand aside in order to allow for transition to new leadership.

“After considerable discussion and consultation with colleagues and others, I have informed council that I plan to resign as leader at the time of the annual general meeting in May. Council will be invited at that meeting to elect a new leader for the period to the elections in May 2023, and I will work to ensure that there is a smooth transition.  I will remain as a councillor and as a member of the Progressive Alliance.”