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Lib Dems elect new leader and front line team

May 14, 2012 5:00 PM

Cambridge Liberal Democrats have today (Monday, May 14) announced that Councillor Tim Bick will be taking over from Councillor Sian Reid as the group's new leader.

Sian has decided to step down following surgery earlier this year and the need to take some time to fully recover.

The Lib Dems have also elected their front line team for the coming year with Cllr Catherine Smart continuing as the group's deputy leader. They propose she will continue to have responsibility for housing, Cllr Tim Ward with the planning and sustainable transport portfolio, Cllr Rod Cantrill with arts, sport and public places and Cllr Jean Swanson with the waste and recycling portfolio.

They will be joined by newly re-elected Cllr Mike Pitt who they propose to take responsibility for community development and health and Cllr Julie Smith for customer services and resources. Both have experience as executive councillors.

Tim will be proposed as Cambridge City Council Leader at the council's annual meeting on May 24 when councillors will also vote on the nominations for executive councillors.

The Lib Dems will also be nominating Cllr Sheila Stuart as Mayor and Cllr Paul Saunders as Deputy Mayor for the coming year.

Tim said: "I am delighted to be given this opportunity but at the same time we are all sorry that Sian has decided not to re-stand. She has been a formidable leader of the group and the council and we are sorry that she wanted to step down."

Tim has represented Market Ward on Cambridge City Council for the past four years and served as Executive Councillor for Community Development for the last two. He has worked in human resources in the local technology sector for over 10 years and lives in the city centre. He brings experience of leading his party in local government in Warwickshire.

The Lib Dems are the largest party on the city council with half the seats and will propose a full Lib Dem administration at next week's annual council meeting.

"We have a strong vision for this city and have far from run out of energy and ideas," said Tim. "The council has work to do and needs to satisfy. There is no other party or collection of parties that is in a position to deliver sound, consistent government to the city.

"It is good for the city that the council's procedures envisage close results and help to avoid deadlock. The same procedures will give voice to the stronger Labour representation and we hope this will add richness to the council's decisions."

Sian's two year leadership saw the city council through hard economic times. She faced tough decisions setting the council's budget while at the same time making sure that basic services and those for the vulnerable were protected.

Before taking the leadership, she was Executive Councillor for Climate Change and Growth for four years.

During this time she worked hard to get the city council national recognition for its policy requiring developers of new homes to meet the highest levels of sustainable building.

One of her greatest achievements was the recognition for Cambridge in the Centre for Cities report which named it as one of the top cities in the UK to lead the country to economic recovery.

"I am delighted to hand over to Tim," she said. "He brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role and I have every confidence that, together with his new front line team, the Liberal Democrats will continue to work hard for the people of Cambridge.

"I have been part of a fantastic team of people through extremely challenging times, and very much remain part of that team."