SANDWELL: New mayoral team chosen for the coming year
The new civic leaders for Sandwell have been chosen to represent the borough over the coming year.
Oldbury member Mushtaq Hussain was voted in to take over the reins from Dr Ann Jaron, who was in the role for two consecutive years as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Councillor Richard Jones was also named Deputy Mayor with his consort being his partner Councillor Richard McVittie – making them the first openly gay couple sworn into the roles.
Councillor Hussain, who was first elected in 2018, named his son Amar Mushtaq and family friend Ijaz Ahmed as his two consorts, at the ceremony held on May 25.
He named St John’s Ambulance as his chosen charity for the year.
Councillor Hussain said: “In the year ahead I will be proud to represent and support the people of Sandwell.
“I will use my office to work with my chosen charity, and the people and businesses of Sandwell, to ensure we have thriving, optimistic and resilient communities across the borough. These charities will play an important role in supporting the health and aspirations of all our citizens.”
Councillor Jones, who was first elected in 2019 in the Old Warley Ward, takes over the role from Suzanne Hartwell.
He said: “Richard and I are the first openly gay couple as Deputy Mayor and Consort, and through my work I will seek to strengthen the mutual respect within our communities so that everyone feels safe and protected, and no one faces hate or discrimination because of who or what they are.
“We will work together to recognise our residents’ skills and talents, enabling them to play their part in a strong, inclusive Sandwell.”
Councillor Rajbir Singh was confirmed as authority leader, having been selected at a Labour group meeting last week, and he also announced his cabinet team at the AGM.
Councillor Maria Crompton will continue as deputy, although she has been serving as interim leader since August last year. She will also serve as the cabinet member for Strong and Resilient Communities.
The rest of the cabinet are:
Councillor Karen Simms – Best Start In Life
Councillor Jackie Taylor – Connected and Accessible Sandwell
Councillor Wasim Ali – Finance, Council Sustainability and Transformation
Councillor Danny Millard – Governance and Democracy
Councillor Suzanne Hartwell – Living and Ageing Well
Councillor Zahoor Ahmed – Quality Homes and Thriving Neighbourhoods
Councillor Iqbal Padda – Strong and Inclusive Economy
Words: Gurdip Thandi, Local Democracy Reporter
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