Bracknell Forest Council’s Mayor has been elected to a second term of office in an annual council personnel meeting.

Personnel meetings are held every year to select the mayor of the council, the chairpeople and vice-chairpeople of the council’s committees.

The council’s committees are in charge of the most important decisions in Bracknell Forest Council, deciding on planning and licensing applications, hiring council staff and more.

Personnel were chosen at a Full Council meeting held via Microsoft Teams on Tuesday, April 29. They were elected to serve the 2021/22 Municipal Year.

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Councillor Ash Merry (Conservative) was re-elected as Bracknell Forest Council’s Mayor, with Cllr Michael Gbadebo (CON) serving another term as Deputy Mayor.

In her acceptance speech, Cllr Merry said:  “I’m delighted to be wearing this badge of office for another year and I would like to thank all my colleagues for supporting me and especially my deputy mayor Michael for graciously and patiently waiting to start his mayoral year.

“I’ll never lose sight of the fact that it is an honour and privilege to be mayor of this very special borough, and to represent our residents in the very best way I can. The last year has been challenging, but where there are challenges there are opportunities, and I have seen Bracknell Forest residents and organisations supporting each other and really putting communities before self. Together I believe have made the best of a very difficult time, and I want to thank everyone for playing their part over a very difficult year.

Councillor Ash Merry, who was re-elected as Bracknell Forest Council Mayor. Credit: Bracknell Forest Council

Councillor Ash Merry, who was re-elected as Bracknell Forest Council Mayor. Credit: Bracknell Forest Council

“The mayor’s office has been open for business, though we have been doing things differently, and mostly virtually, but each engagement has been an uplifting pleasure and privilege.

“Thank you to all opposition members for their lively and valuable debate in council and in this chamber, and to all members and officers for keeping me on my toes!”

The leader of the council, Cllr Paul Bettison OBE (CON) nominated Cllr Ash Merry, and was seconded by Cllr Dale Birch (CON), deputy leader. Cllr Bettison seconded Cllr Merry’s appointment of Cllr Gbadebo as the deputy mayor.

Cllr Merry and Cllr Gbadebo were first elected to their positions on May, 20, 2020.

The chairpeople of the council’s major committees were also confirmed at the meeting.

The Overview and Scrutiny Commission  reviews the council and its partners’ work in public, to make decision making transparent and to hold councillors to account. Cllr Robert Angell (CON) was elected Chairman, and Cllr Tony Virgo (CON) was elected Vice Chair. There is currently an overview and scrutiny panel investigating the council’s Blue Badge disabled parking application process.

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The Planning Committee decides all planning applications made to the council. Cllr Colin Dudley (CON) was re-elected Chairman, and Cllr Michael Brossard was re-elected Vice Chair.

The Employment Committee is in charge of formulating all human resources policies and determine all matters relating to the employment or dismissal of staff. Cllr Nick Allen (CON) was newly elected Chairman of the committee, with Cllr Ian Leake (CON) taking up the Vice Chair position.

The Licensing and Safety Committee manages licence applications for food and entertainment businesses -which regulates the sale of alcohol and food late at night- as well deciding on taxi licences, pet shops and gambling businesses. Cllr John Porter (CON) was re-elected Chairman, with Cllr Brossard retaining his position as Vice Chairman.

The job of the Governance and Audit Committee is to oversee the council’s finances. Cllrs Allen and Bob Wade (CON) both retained their positions as Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively.

Finally, Cllr Gaby Kennedy (CON) left the Climate Change Advisory Panel, with Cllr Leake and Cllr Pauline McKenzie (CON) added to the panel.

The meeting was begun with a roll call and an address and prayers from Fr Guy Cole, Rector of St Michael & St Mary Magdalene CofE Church in Easthampstead.