To elect a Chair for the ensuing municipal year. The Chair to make a declaration of acceptance of office.
Former County Councillor Alan Cockburn, the Chair of Warwickshire County Council for the municipal year 2020 to 2021 requested nominations for the Chair.
Councillor Yousef Dahmash nominated Councillor Pete Gilbert. Prior to this, Councillor Dahmash extended his condolences to the family of former County Councillor Chris Williams who had recently passed away.
Councillor Yousef Dahmash thanked Alan Cockburn for his term of office as Chair acknowledging that the Covid-19 Pandemic meant that the year had not been as originally envisaged. He commended Alan Cockburn for the way in which he had chaired meetings of Council and thanked him for his years of service to the people of Warwickshire.
Nominating Councillor Pete Gilbert Councillor Yousef Dahmash stated that he has been passionate about politics from a very young age. He had asked questions at meetings of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council from the age of 12. He had entered local politics in the early 1990s and had become a member of Warwickshire County Council in 2017. Councillor Gilbert was described as fair and balanced by Councillor Yousef Dahmash. He would make a good Chair of Council.
The nomination was seconded by Councillor Jo Barker who described Councillor Pete Gilbert as loyal to his roots, his friends and the people he represents. He would be the right person to Chair the Council out of the Pandemic.
There were no other nominations.
A vote was held.
That Councillor Pete Gilbert be elected as Chair of Warwickshire County Council for the municipal year 2021/2022.
Councillor Pete Gilbert thanked Alan Cockburn for his year as Chair of Council. He extended his condolences to the family of former County Councillor Chris Williams.
Councillors Yousef Dahmash and Jo Barker were thanked for their words of support.
In accepting the position of Chair Councillor Pete Gilbert informed Council that his interest in politics stemmed from being raised in a pub. People, he said, often had comments concerning the government of the day. When he attended a meeting of the borough council at the age of 12, he was chastised for asking his questions.
Councillor Gilbert stated that with the end of the Pandemic in sight there is a desire to strive to return to normality and return to the standard of living seen previously. However, for many people their standard of living falls below what it acceptable. Councillors have a responsibility to work with and listen to individual and groups allowing them to shape the process of improving peoples’ lives.
There is a need to tackle inequality especially in education (where the County Council has less influence than it used to). There is a need to ensure that children do not fail at school. Many that do end up in prison. Children should be given the tools to have a good start in life and realise their ambitions
Councillor Gilbert concluded by stating that local government is the shop window of democracy. Councillors need to stick to their principles. They have four years to work for others and to make a difference.
Councillor Gilbert proposed a motion of thanks to Alan Cockburn which was seconded by Councillor Warwick.
Alan Cockburn thanked Councillor Pete Gilbert. Although his year in office had not been as expected he had been proud to Chair meetings of Council and uphold the Council’s traditions of integrity and honesty. Officers were thanked for their support through the year and Council collectively was thanked for its commitment and hard work.