An education chief is expected to be named as the new leader of Flintshire Council following a turbulent few weeks.
Cllr Ian Roberts, who represents the Flint Castle area, received the unanimous backing of fellow Labour county councillors during a meeting held over the weekend.
It comes after a rocky fortnight for the administration in which current leader Aaron Shotton sacked his deputy Bernie Attridge for an alleged breach of confidence.
Cllr Shotton, whose conduct is subject to an ongoing Ombudsman’s investigation, then announced his own departure last week as the decision provoked a backlash from some parts of the community.
Cllr Roberts, cabinet member for education, is said to have stood unopposed for the top post within the Labour group as they look to stabilise control of the local authority.
He has been praised by cabinet colleague Cllr Chris Bithell, who said he believed he was the right man for the job.
He said: “I’ve known Ian probably for about 40 years since he was a young man.
“He’s Flint born and raised, he’s got a vast experience and is a well-established councillor.
“He’s someone we felt we could put our faith and our trust and confidence in as our new leader.
“We are very sorry for both the previous leader and deputy leader with the way things have turned out for them.
“We owe them a great deal as they have served the council and the public of Flintshire extremely well for the last few years.”
Cllr Roberts has represented Flint since the 1980s, originally as a town councillor, before being elected to Delyn Borough Council in 1992.
He then became part of the newly formed Flintshire County Council in 1995 and has successfully held his seat ever since.
His move to become leader of the authority is expected to be ratified at a special full council meeting tomorrow.
As Labour rules through a minority, with 34 out of 70 county council seats in Flintshire, it is likely they will need to rely on a handful of other votes to seal the deal.
While opposition groups are not believed to be planning to make their own bid for power during proceedings at County Hall in Mold, such a move has not been ruled out at next month’s AGM.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).