On an emotional evening in Lowestoft, Cllr Mark Bee has been elected Leader of Waveney District council at the authority’s Annual Council Meeting.
Following the death of Cllr Colin Law, who had been due to step down at this evening’s meeting, Cllr 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.
The new Leader also confirmed the make-up of his first Cabinet, with Cllr Craig Rivett joining the team for the first time and new roles for Chris Punt and Bruce Provan who return to the Executive. Meanwhile Cllr Frank Mortimer is the new Chairman of the council and Cllr Nick Webb is the new deputy Chair.
Cllr Bee previously led the Council between 2004 and 2011 before taking up the Leadership role at Suffolk County Council and told Annual Council that he is excited by the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. He said:
“This is a very different Council to the one I led until 2011 and so much has been achieved thanks to the Leadership of Cllr Colin Law, who was a real finisher and helped us to make such fantastic progress.
“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.”
With thoughts of Cllr Law never far away this evening, Councillors signed the book of condolence at Riverside and many took the opportunity to pay their own personal tributes to the former Leader.
Alan Green on behalf of the Labour Group said:
"Cllr Law had a great passion for the future of Waveney and we will miss him enormously",
while Cllr Nick Webb, the outgoing Mayor of Lowestoft and new Vice Chairman of the council added:
"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 Cllr 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."
Annual Council also saw appointments to a range of council committees with Cllr Sue Allen, previously Cabinet Member for Housing, now the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.