History-makers Rima and Laura take top two roles
THE new-look Barnard Castle Town Council has already made its mark after electing women as the mayor and deputy mayor.
It is believed to be first time a man hasn’t held one or both of the top jobs.Cllr Rima Chatterjee has been named mayor and Cllr Laura Drew her deputy.
Both had resigned from the council in the wake of the industrial tribunal but were re-elected this month.
The pair were selected for the mayoral roles at the annual town meeting last Monday, which saw nine new faces appearing. Cllr Frank Harrison nominated Cllr Chatterjee as mayor and the choice was seconded by a number of other members. Cllr Jan Thompson put Cllr Paul Ing's hat into the ring but Cllr Ing replied: “Rima is someone I have great respect for so I will withdraw from the election to support her.”
The decision to appoint Cllr Chatterjee was greeted with applause. Councillors then agreed Cllr Drew should be her deputy.
Cllr Chris Foote-Wood said: “I congratulate the pair of them. I'm sure you will both do an excellent job and both have my support. It may well be the first time we have had two women in the main positions in the town council – and that’s no bad thing.”
At last month's elections, Laura Drew, Paul Ing, Mike McLean, John Moore, Jan Thompson and Chloe Walls were elected to the west ward. Peter Bigge, Rima Chatterjee, Pauline Connelly, Alan Coulthard, Chris Foote-Wood and Frank Harrison were elected to the east ward. Of these, only Laura Drew, Rima Chatterjee and Frank Harrison had served on the town council previously.
The decision on who will chair the partnership, resources and services committees will be made at a later date. However, the council has decided who will represent it on a number of bodies.
Cllr Harrison and Cllr Walls will serve on the Teesdale Residents and Travellers’ Forum, Cllr Foote-Wood and Cllr Harrison will join Dementia Friendly Communities, Cllr Chatterjee with sit on the Barnard Castle Mechanic Institute and Witham Hall Community Association, and Cllr Foote-Wood and Cllr Drew will be on the A66 Community Liaison Groups.