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Clash over council vice-chairman

From left, council leader Matthew Lee, George Chivers, Brian Sumner and deputy leader Kelham Cooke
From left, council leader Matthew Lee, George Chivers, Brian Sumner and deputy leader Kelham Cooke

District councillors have clashed over the appointment of a vice-chairman for South Kesteven District Council.

After lauding the outgoing chairman Bob Sampson (Ind-Lovenden Heath) and his successor George Chivers (Con-Belmont), former Stamford Mayor Brian Sumner faced opposition, before ruling Conservatives successfully voted him in.

Coun Barry Dobson (Con- Dole Wood) proposed Coun Sumner (Con- Stamford St Mary's) saying he was "good at attending events" and has "honesty and dedication".

But Coun Paul Wood (Ind-Viking) said: It's with some sadness I can't support Coun Brian Sumner.

"I do not think he's the right sort of person to represent this council.

I know these are quite harsh words.

I won't be supporting him. I do not think he has the right qualities and experience."

Coun Ashley Baxter (Ind-Market & West Deeping) then stood up and called for Coun Robert Reid (Con- Bourne Austerby).

He's an excellent ambassador for the district, hardworking and goes the extra mile."

Coun Nick Craft (SK Ind) agreed saying at scrutiny committed, Coun Reid has been "exemplary as a chairman and a great asset to the council".

However, Coun Reid said he was busy selling his business but when it is sold, he wishes to semi-retire and dedicate more to the district and county councils.

"I decline with gratitude. I am sorry to disappoint."

Council leader Matthew Lee (Con-Stamford St Mary's) commented: "Sometimes the chamber can be quite cruel.

"I will be supporting Coun Sumner.

"I know he is a quiet man. I have said to him, 'You should speak up more'."

Earlier, members voted in George Chivers as chairman.

Proposer Ray Wootten (Con-Grantham St Wulfram's) noted how the Perth-born outgoing vice-chairman had served with the RAF in places including Aden, Singapore, Guam and Cyprus.

He joined SKDC in 2002 and formed its licensing committee.

Coun Craft said Coun Chivers would "make an excellent chairman".

After his election, Coun Chivers said: "I will try and emulate Coun Sampson's year.

"It's going to be a hard act to equal, never mind beat."

Giving a vote of thanks to Coun Sampson, Coun Lee said: "Coun Sampson has been a superb ambassador for SKDC, a passionate champion for his chosen charities, who ensures SKDC speaks up for young people."

Coun Wood said of Coun Sampson: "He's a true gentleman, independently minded and fair to everyone."

Coun Phil Dilks (Lab-Deeping St James) said: "He's been an exceptional chairman, who has brought fairness and respect and demonstrated huge dignity."

Coun Sampson responded he'd enjoyed his year, a "year of change" for SKDC, with highlights including meeting 10,000 children, including at scouting and sports events, plus the Swimarathon.

His proudest moment was Pauline Bryant receiving an award for her late husband Coun Terl Bryant.

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