A NEW leadership team has been appointed at Bury Council.

Prestwich councillor Eamonn O’Brien has become the third leader of the local authority in 10 months, taking over from former police inspector David Jones.

A “new look” cabinet was unveiled at the annual meeting of Bury Council on Wednesday which took place virtually via video conference for the first time.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Cllr O’Brien was “really excited” to announce his cabinet reshuffle with new faces now joining more high-profile councillors.

He said: “Bringing together a mixture of experience and new talent, this team faces an incredible challenge in taking our borough through the ongoing coronavirus crisis and the economic recovery beyond, but I know that they are absolutely up to the job.

“I have bold ambitions for Bury and my leadership team will not be afraid to take big decisions that are in the interest of our borough and its people.

“We are in a crisis and in the immediate term this will be our focus, but we must always keep in mind our longer-term vision.

“Creating a fairer, greener and more prosperous borough is my team’s priority and I look forward to outlining how we can build back better from coronavirus in Bury over the coming weeks.”

The reshuffle also sees a change in the cabinet portfolios, with new positions created to reflect the priorities of the new administration.

Cllr Tamoor Tariq, who has been appointed deputy leader, will cover “skills” alongside the children and young people portfolio, with a focus on the emerging plans for a university presence in the borough and work more closely with colleges and employers in progressing the skills agenda in Bury.

The environment and climate change brief has been separated from transport and infrastructure in recognition of the climate emergency declared last year.

Cllr Alan Quinn will remain responsible for the council’s climate targets, while Cllr Lucy Smith joins the cabinet taking on the transport portfolio.

The outgoing council leader, Cllr Jones, has been assigned the communities portfolio – a cabinet role which now covers emergency planning as well.

And a new cabinet position has been created to focus specifically on the “cultural economy” with Cllr Jane Black taking on this job.

While the coronavirus pandemic has moved much of the planned activity for the Greater Manchester Town of Culture online, Bury Council is expecting to retain the title into 2021 with further events to mark the year in the pipeline.

Unsworth councillor Tahir Rafiq, who was the licensing committee chair, now takes Cllr Black’s previous cabinet role of Corporate Affairs and HR.

Cllr Sandra Walmsley will now chair the Licensing and Safety Panel.

Ramsbottom councillor Clare Cummins, who was elected last May, takes on the housing portfolio previously held by Cllr O’Brien who still covers finance while inheriting the “growth” brief in his new job as leader of the council.

The Conservative Group unanimously re-elected Cllr Nick Jones as leader and Cllr Paul Cropper as deputy leader at the group’s annual meeting on Tuesday.

Cllr Jones, who will be responsible for the “finance and property” portfolio, has appointed two new councillors to his shadow cabinet as part of a reshuffle.

Newly-elected Church ward councillor Dene Vernon will cover community services and emergency planning while Cllr Sam Hurst has been appointed as shadow cabinet member for education and children services.

Cllr Dorothy Gunther will cover adult social care and public health, Cllr Roy Walker will take on transport and highways and Cllr Bob Caserta will be the Conservatives’ spokesman for corporate affairs, regeneration and HR.

The group’s deputy  leader, Cllr Paul Cropper, first elected to Bury Council with Cllr Jones in May 2018, remains responsible for the shadow environment brief.

Cllr Khalid Hussain retains his position as the Conservative Group Chief Whip.

Cllr Jones said: “Leading the Group since January has been a true honour and a privilege and I look forward to continuing to lead the Group. The current pandemic has put real pressure on our communities and we will continue to support our local residents and businesses throughout this COVID-19 crisis.”