As part of the overhaul of the Council's governance, the Cabinet portfolios were altered last night to help drive up improvements and ensure that we link more effectively with the community.
I got the call from the Leader this morning that my portfolio is to be Health and Leisure.
I'm leaving the Transport brief with mixed feelings. I would have liked to have seen through the completion of the Eastern Tranpsort Corridor, and the Sustainable Travel Town and Cycling Demonstration Town initiatives, which are beginning to transform transport in Darlington. I feel I have a good working relationship with transport providers and lobby groups such as GOLD and the Darlington Cycling Campaign.
At the same time, it probably is time for a change. I became Chair of the old Transport Committee in 1992, and seamlessly moved into the Highways and Transport portfolio holder when the Cabinet system began. Frankly, 15 years in one portfolio is quite long enough, and I'm sure the Council will benefit from having a fresh Cabinet Member looking after this key area of the town's operation.
My new portfolio covers public health, environmental health, trading standards, the Registrar's Office, leisure, culture and the museum. Leisure was previously a portfolio all to itself, and as Cllr. Heather Scott pointed out in Council last night, there is a huge agenda for the Council regarding the public health brief. Clearly I won't be short of work!
I've spent the morning making calls to staff I've worked with in the Highways and Transport brief thanking them for their hard work and support, and beginning to get to grips with my new job. Re-ordering my diary is the first task...