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Council leader hopeful aims for success ‘on a much bigger stage’
The Chronicle, Thursday, 1st March, 2012. www.chronicleseries.co.uk
By Chris Young A Congleton councillor has told the “Chronicle” he hopes to take over as leader of Cheshire East Council in May.
Congleton West Coun Roland Domleo is currently deputy leader of the authority and deputy of its Conservative Party.
But he is hoping to fill the shoes of council leader from Coun Wesley Fitzgerald, from Maccles-field, who announced last week that he would stand down in April.
Every Cheshire East councillor will get to vote on who takes on the role at a meeting in May.
However, with the Conservative Party making up 50 of the authority’s 82 councillors, it is likely that whoever the party chooses as its preferred option for leader will e voted in. When Coun Domleo, the former leader of Congleton Borough Council until its abolition in 2009, was asked if he hoped to move from dep-
ty to leader, he said: “My desire to become leader of Cheshire East has been well known since the council was formed.
“For the last seven years of Congleton Borough Council’s existence I was the leader, and in that time the council was developed and improved from an official ‘weak’ rating to a ‘good’ rating (nearly excellent).
“Cheshire East is a very different animal to Congleton orough and I would love to have the opportunity to lead an able and committed team to achieve success on a much igger stage.” Coun Fitzgerald, (75), has een council leader since it was created in 2009, and was leader of its “shadow council” in the year leading up to Cheshire East’s formation.
In the statement which announced his decision to quit as leader, Coun Fitzgerald revealed that he had originally only planned to stay in the osition until last May’s elections, but was persuaded to carry on for another year.
He said: “I believe that I have achieved what I set out to and it is time for me to stand aside. Leading a large and maturing authority is a huge responsibility and it is one that I have enjoyed immensely, but it is a full time job. Most people retire at 65 — I didn’t and in fact have gone almost a decade further in full time work.
“For the past four years I have ensured that this council has built strong foundations to allow sound growth in the future. We have made the savings that the local government review demanded and I am confident that I can now relinquish leadership and leave the council in a strong place ready to face the challenges that the future will bring.”
Coun Fitzgerald added: “The time is now right for new leadership to bring a fresh approach to the continuance of Cheshire East Council as it matures and establish itself as a cost effective, well run council.”
In April all the Conservative councillors will attend an annual meeting where they will appoint a new leader to replace Coun Fitzgerald. He will remain as council leader until the Full Council meets on 16th May to decide on his replacement.
Coun Rachel Bailey, secretary for the Conservative group on Cheshire East Council, said: “The vote will be cross party to find a new elected leader of the council. Everyone has the right to stand, they have to be nominated and seconded.”
At last year’s annual meeting of the full council, independent Coun David Brickhill challenged Coun Fitzgerald’s leadership, but lost by 45 votes to 20.
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