Harlow councillor Eddie Johnson new vice-chair of Essex County Council

HARLOW’S Eddie Johnson has been chosen to be the vice-chair of Eseex County Council.

Eddie Johnson

Cllr Johnson is both a councillor for Harlow District Council and Essex County Council.

His selection was part of a new-look Cabinet which was unveiled at Essex County Council’s Full Council today along with almost £5 million extra funding for pothole and highways repairs.

Announcing the reshuffled Cabinet, Council leader David Finch said: “In the past year, our progress has been unstoppable with ideas and innovations that are not only tackling the greatest challenges we face in Essex, but inspiring the rest of the nation too.

“As we approach 2020, when this Council will no longer receive any central government funding, we must keep that momentum, build on our successes and continue to strive for excellence in everything we do.

“To achieve this, I have made some changes to the Cabinet to ensure we have the knowledge and experience to meet the challenges ahead.”

The new-look Cabinet

Cllr Kevin Bentley will continue in his role as Deputy Leader, but will take on a new and larger Infrastructure portfolio, which now includes highways. Cllr Bentley will continue to lobby for infrastructure investment that can drive economic growth.

Cllr Gagan Mohindra will take on the new portfolio of Economic Development, which includes housing, in his first senior Cabinet role.

Cllr Dick Madden remains responsible for Children and Families.

Cllr John Spence retains Health and Adult Social Care.

Cllr Ray Gooding continues in Education, but will now take on additional responsibility for skills to ensure the county has a workforce equipped for the future.

Cllr Simon Walsh continues in his role as Environment and Waste portfolio holder.

Cllr Louise McKinlay retains finance, but gains additional responsibility for traded and commercial services to help the council increase its income.

Cllr Susan Barker keeps the Customer portfolio, in charge of libraries, but gains responsibility for corporate services.

Cllr Sue Lissimore takes on the new Culture and Communities portfolio.

Cllr Finch also congratulated Cllr John Jowers on his election as Chairman of the Council, along with his deputy Cllr Eddie Johnson, while paying tribute to the achievements of former highways boss, Cllr Ian Grundy, who is leaving the Cabinet, and outgoing Chairman Cllr John Aldridge.

In his speech to the Council Chamber of 75 members, Cllr Finch announced almost £5 million of funding for pothole repairs and highways improvements.

“We have delivered £350m of savings in the last four years by driving out inefficiency, innovating, generating income and reducing costs. This year we will deliver an additional £59m of savings, he said.

“Thanks to this financial prudence I am pleased to announce additional funding for our highways that have deteriorated more rapidly due to the bad weather earlier this year.

“There will be an extra £2.5m for pothole repairs, £1.2m for local highways panels, £1m for highways works that can be devolved to as local a level as possible, and £200,000 to keep Essex tidy by improving the appearance of highways and verges.”

On Cllr Mohindra’s appointment, he added: “Gagan will renew our focus on economic growth, ensuring we know what skills businesses need and that we have the commercial space for them to develop.

“We know that Essex needs at least 136,000 new homes over the next 20 years – Gagan will work with partners across Essex to facilitate housing growth in such a way that the characteristics of the county we cherish are protected and enhanced. We are not just building new homes, we are building communities.”

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