Cllr Ian Thomas
Cllr Ian Thomas. Picture: EDDC

Trinity Councillor Ian Thomas has been elected as the new Chair of East Devon District Council.

Trinity Councillor Ian Thomas has been elected as the new Chair of East Devon District Council.

Cllr Thomas, who is an Independent councillor, was elected following a vote at EDDC’s annual council meeting on Tuesday, May 25. Cllr Thomas was elected following a vote of 36-20.

Cllr Val Ranger was also elected as the vice chair and Cllr Paul Arnott will continue as the leader of the Council.

After accepting the role, Cllr Thomas said:

Historically, when our council was led by one political party with an overall majority, the Chair would come from within that group. 

Since elections in May 2019, our council has been more fragmented and polarised, lacking the overall control of one party.

It is therefore a particular honour, as a non-aligned, individual Independent member, to be elected Chair of East Devon District Council by such a decisive majority of my colleagues across virtually all political groups.

I recognise this unique trust brings with it additional responsibilities, and will perform all my duties with an even hand and open mind.

Councillor Ranger added: 

It is a great privilege to be re-elected as Vice-Chair for another year and I thank cross party colleagues for their support.

The past year has been a huge challenge for the Council, not least for the officers who have worked so hard to support residents and local businesses as well as councillors. Officers have worked so well with the administration newly formed in May 2020; we have all had to  deal with the COVID-19 fallout as well as making the strategic changes voters wanted.

So much has been achieved in the past year and I look forward to building on this in the year ahead and giving my full congratulations and support to the newly elected Chair Cllr Ian Thomas.

Cllr Arnott said:

I am very pleased to see Ian take the Chair, which I am sure he will fill with distinction. I would also wish to give the council's huge thanks to his predecessor, Cllr Cathy Gardner, for a superb job, done in the most trying circumstances any chair has faced.

These thanks extend also to all our officers for an extraordinary year's work - up against the odds throughout.