The Leader of Essex County Council, Cllr David Finch, has announced he will not be seeking re-election to the authority at May’s elections.
Cllr Finch has been a member of Essex County Council for nearly 20 years, since being first elected in 2001, and has led the authority for the past eight years.
Prior to becoming Leader, Cllr Finch was Deputy Leader from 2010 to 2013, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care from 2008 to 2010, and Cabinet Member for Finance and Property from 2003 to 2008.
Making the announcement at today’s Full Council meeting, which also set the County Council’s budget for 2021/22, Cllr Finch told members:
“I have been proud to serve as a member of Essex County Council since the very first day I was elected almost 20 years ago in June 2001, and even prouder to lead this great authority for the past eight years.
“I will leave with an immense sense of pride in what we have achieved in my time as Leader and as a Cabinet Member.
“On the day we have set the Council’s budget in the most challenging circumstances experienced in Essex County Council’s long and proud history, we have frozen council tax again. This year, Essex will have the lowest upper-tier council tax increase in the region, and one of the lowest nationally. In fact, in six of the last 10 years, we have not asked our residents to pay a penny extra for their services.
“We have improved our children’s services beyond recognition, and have been twice rated in the top 10 most productive councils in the country. As we move toward the post-Covid era, we do so with an Environmental Commission ensuring that our future will be low-carbon and sustainable, and a soon-to-be-established Education Recovery Task force, so that we can work to ensure that Essex children will not be disadvantaged in their learning in any way.”
Essex County Council Chief Executive Gavin Jones said:
“It’s been a privilege to work with David for the past five years. His experience, judgement and skill in balancing the competing political and financial challenges we have faced, the clarity of the vision he has for the future of the County and his passion, energy and commitment to serving the people of Essex have been the hallmarks of his time as Leader.
“He has been ceaseless in his drive to improve our services, and improve the lives of the people of Essex as a result, and will be a very tough act to follow.”