A COUNCIL chief – overseeing the district’s new waste collection service – has resigned from her post after growing “tension” over the role being not as hands-on as she hoped.
Coun Sarah Whalley-Hoggins has stood down from her position as Stratford District Council’s (SDC) Portfolio Holder for Environment and Climate Change by mutual agreement after less than a month.
Coun Whalley-Hoggins, ward member for Brailes and Compton Ward, replaced Coun Ian Shenton at the beginning of August.
According to an official statement on her resignation released by SDC, a key part of Coun Whallley-Hoggins’ role was to provide support to officers and residents following the start of the new 123+ waste collection service last month.
And, SDC continue, “the launch of this new service has been a very large and complex undertaking and has not been without quite understandable challenges”.
Coun Whalley-Hoggins told the Observer: “It’s been a difficult decision and I am disappointed to be standing down by ‘mutual agreement’ after only 21 days in post. I’ve wanted to not only respond to, but to address issues raised by residents and councillors with the new system of waste collection.
“I’m well known for taking a ‘problem-solving’ and principled approach as a councillor. I’ve never been afraid to ask challenging questions. However, I have been clearly told I can’t get involved in operational matters.
“Sadly, I don’t feel that I can be effective to either the cabinet, councillors and most importantly, to all the residents of the Stratford district with the restrictions placed on me.”
SDC Leader, Coun Tony Jefferson, said: “Coun Whalley-Hoggins is a very hard-working councillor in her approach to district matters. She has a very clear ‘problem-solving’ approach and wants to be fully involved.
“However, the role of a portfolio holder is not one that gets involved in the detailed operational day-to-day running of council services. Consequently, this cabinet position was not as hands on as she had anticipated, so I could understand her frustrations at not being able to operate in her preferred style.
“Rather than have a situation which was causing obvious tensions, not least for Coun Whalley-Hoggins herself, we came to a mutual understanding that the best option would be for her to stand down as portfolio holder.
“This is not an outcome that was anticipated, but it feels like a mature and right decision.
“Coun Whalley-Hoggins can now continue to focus her energy and attention on serving residents across her large rural ward.”
Coun Jefferson added: “Our grateful thanks are extended to Coun Whalley-Hoggins for her contribution and enthusiasm during the challenging roll-out of the new waste contract last month.”
Coun Bill Fleming has been appointed the new Portfolio Holder for Environment and Climate Change.
Coun Jefferson said: “I am pleased to welcome Bill to cabinet, and I am sure he will swiftly get to grips with his challenging portfolio.”