Ballyclare DUP representative Mandy Girvan will serve as the first Presiding Councillor of the new Antrim and Newtownabbey Council.
Mrs Girvan was elected to the role at the inaugural meeting of the new local authority, which took place at Antrim Civic Centre on Thursday, June 12.
The new District Council, which will operate in ‘shadow form’ alongside the existing councils until March 31, 2015, appointed UUP Alderman Mervyn Rea as Deputy Presiding Councillor.
Councillor Girvan commented: “I am delighted to be chosen as the Presiding Councillor for the shadow period of the council. It’s a very exciting and challenging time with a lot of change taking place and a lot of work needing done. We are ready for this change and as a new council we must move forward as a team to deliver quality services for our residents.”
Alderman Rea added: “I am pleased to be nominated as the Deputy Presiding Councillor and will endeavour to work over the next ten-month shadow period to address the priorities and prepare for the new council.
“Residents can rest assured that we will work together to maintain the excellent standards of service for which both councils are known.”
Committee structures were also agreed for the shadow period, and chairmen and vice chairmen appointed to each committee. Those elected were as follows:
Governance Arrangements & Constitution for the New Council Committee - chairman: Cllr Nigel Kells (DUP), vice chairman Cllr Michael Maguire (UUP); Policy, Resources & Service Convergence Committee - chairman Cllr Paul Hamill (DUP), vice chairman Cllr Anne Marie Logue (Sinn Fein); Community Planning & Regeneration Committee - chairman Cllr Jim Bingham (UUP), vice chairman Cllr Thomas Burns (SDLP); Planning Committee (Shadow) - chairman Cllr Billy Webb (Alliance), vice chairman Cllr Trevor Beattie (DUP).
Fifteen members will sit on each of the first three committees, while there will be 20 elected representatives on the planning committee.
The allocation of positions to the committees will be decided by the parties at the next meeting, at Mossley Mill on June 26.
Thereafter, council meetings will take place on the fourth Thursday of every month at 6.30pm. Meetings are open to the public and venues will rotate between Antrim Civic Centre and Mossley Mill.
For more information log on to www.antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk
Meanwhile, TUV Councillors David Hollis and David Arthurs have criticised the new council for using the D’Hondt method of determining which parties get first choice to nominate committee chairs and vice chairs. Stressing that they got more votes in the election than some of those appointed to committee posts, a statement issued by the two men said: “While chairs and vice chairs may have been denied us we will ensure that the interests of ratepayers are put front and centre by the council and if this ever fails to be the case we will be exposing the waste.”