02:54PM, Tuesday 24 November 2020
A new ‘award-winning’ monitoring officer will take the reins following their predecessor’s retirement.
Royal Borough councillors unanimously agreed at an extraordinary full council meeting on November 23 (Monday) to appoint a new monitoring officer following the retirement of the current officer, Mary Severin.
A monitoring officer serves as the ‘guardian’ of the council’s constitution and the decision-making process as well as reporting breaches and possible breaches of the law or maladministration to the council.
They are also responsible for advising and guiding councillors on the legality of their decisions and on the local authority’s constitution and its powers.
It was heard the new full-time officer was ‘award-winning’ and will have a ‘wider corporate’ responsibility to ensure more timely decision-making.
A list of eight candidates were considered, with one shortlisted for an interview in person with a panel consisting of the managing director and a few councillors from different political groups at the Maidenhead town hall on November 9.
Following the meeting, the appointment committee agreed to recommend to council the appointment of the new monitoring officer and deputy director of law and strategy.
The leader of the opposing Liberal Democrats, councillor Simon Werner (Pinkneys Green), said: “I think the new expanded role at the council would be really important on improving that governance that’s led us down over the past few years and really improve on that decision-making of the council.
“So I do welcome that new expanded role.”
Councillor Lynne Jones (Old Windsor Residents’ Association: Old Windsor) – who was on the interviewing panel – said she welcomed the decision to have an ‘in-house legal specialist’, adding that she believed the candidate would be an ‘excellent addition’ to the council.
The name of the new officer was not announced – but will be once ‘due process has concluded’.
Tributes were paid to Mary Severin – who also serves at Wokingham Borough Council – for her three years of ‘loyal and dedicated service’ at the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
Mrs Severin will continue to be the monitoring officer until the candidate takes over in February 2021.
She said: “I just want to thank you all for your kind words and how much I’ve enjoyed working with every single one of you.
“So, I hope to see you all again after February.”
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