Cllr Kerrie Carmichael, Leader of Sandwell Council
Sandwell Council has officially appointed a new leader to guide the local authorities out of numerous political scandals
Cllr Kerrie Carmichael (Lab, Blackheath), was appointed at the council’s full meeting on December 7.
Before then, at a Sandwell Labour meeting on November 29, Cllr Carmichael was elected to head up the group after standing unopposed for the position.
She will become the troubled authority’s sixth leader in three years.
Cllr Maria Crompton (Lab, Tividale) will serve as deputy leader.
What has Cllr Carmichael said about her appointment?
Giving an acceptance speech in the Sandwell Council chambers, she said: “We have all seen how our incredible communities and workforce have come together in hat has been an exceptional tough 18 months for anyone.
“I am confident we can, and will, carry on delivering for those who need us. My priority in this task is to work to improve the council’s key policy procedures and a stronger structure in place.
“Only by doing so can we improve the lives of everyone in the borough, particularly those who are most vulnerable.
“I will also look at new ways of engaging with residents. I will continue to lead the work in our neighbourhoods ensuring that we recognise the different needs of our towns and communities.
“I know none of this will be easy, but I am prepared to do whatever it takes for this council to succeed. There is a role for every single person in this room to make that happen.
“I will do everything I can to make sure Sandwell council is an environment that supports the work we all do for our residents.
“To the members opposite, whatever our differences will be politically, I hope you will work with me, and us, for the benefit of Sandwell who need us.”
What have the opposition said about Cllr Carmichael’s appointment?
But Cllr William Gill (Cons, Great Bridge) tabled a motion to appoint Cllr David Fisher (Cons, Charlemont with Grove Vale) as leader of the council instead.
He said: “[David Fisher] is a dedicated public servant, who wants change in this borough. I am proud to serve under him, as leader of the opposition, and know that he would approve transparency under this authority, and put the people of Sandwell first.
“Cllr Fisher is not preoccupied with infighting within his ranks unlike the Labour party. Cllr Fisher could lead the council out of the darkness and into the light with the future our borough could benefit.”
That motion, to elect Cllr Fisher instead, was voted down.
Why was there a vacancy for leader at Sandwell Council?
Cllr Carmichael’s appointment comes after Rajbir Singh, the previous council leader, quit due to personal circumstances. He has also resigned as a councillor for the Bristnall ward.
Speaking after the meeting, she said: “I have lived in Sandwell all my life and I am very proud to become the leader of Sandwell council.
“It’s important to me that we deliver the high-quality daily services all our residents expect, at the same time as recognising the different needs of our towns and communities.
“My ambition for Sandwell will be underpinned by ensuring that we have the key policies that meet residents’ needs and the processes and structures in place to make sure they happen.
“I cannot do this alone and I will be supported by my hard-working cabinet who remain in their existing portfolios.”
How long as Cllr Carmichael served on Sandwell Council?
Cllr Carmichael has represented Blackheath for nine years and was promoted to the role of cabinet member for neighbourhoods and communities by Mr Singh in September this year, having lost out to him in the last leadership election.
She will retain her cabinet position as member for neighbourhoods and communities.
Meanwhile, the council is still searching for a new chief executive to replace Kim Bromley-Derry, who has held the position on an interim basis since David Stevens’ shock departure in August.
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