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York council cabinet member quits
A MEMBER of City of York Council's ruling cabinet has resigned.
Coun Sandy Fraser has quit as cabinet member for environmental services, and will be replaced by Heslington councillor David Levene, who, at 23, will become York's youngest-ever member of the top-table team and said he "can't wait to get going".
The change, which comes just two months after a previous cabinet reshuffle among the Labour group which controls the council, was announced today and will take effect next Wednesday.
Coun Fraser said he had enjoyed the role and felt he had made good progress, but said: "In recent months I have given serious consideration to the amount of time which the position of cabinet member demands and the tying nature of the position generally.
“My feeling this May was that I would step down next May, but it has become clear to me that I don’t wish to wait until then, and that I should stand aside now and give the opportunity for a colleague to step up and continue in what will be a very challenging, yet rewarding role in the months ahead.
“The Government’s cuts are a having major impact in this portfolio, so it will require someone with a sense of perspective and drive to ensure we maintain what is an excellent service to York residents. Coun Levene will do a great job, I’m convinced”.
Coun Levene said he was "delighted" with his appointment, adding: "I’m well aware of what a challenging portfolio it will be, but feel I’m up to the challenge and look forward to joining my cabinet colleagues in protecting residents against the worst effects of the Government’s cuts”.
Council leader James Alexander thanked Coun Fraser for his "hard work, dedication and achievements" on the cabinet, saying: "Sometimes personal reasons dictate that someone needs to stand aside, but this does not dilute the impact and contribution that that person has made."
He also said he looked forward to working with Coun Levene on the cabinet.
However, Liberal Democrat councillor Ian Cuthbertson fired a parting shot at Coun Fraser after the last weeks of his time in the environmental services role saw 349 litter bins removed, and claimed his departure in the wake of May’s cabinet reshuffle meant Labour were “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic”.
“It is right he has stood down in the light of the ongoing bins fiasco, and if sense prevails the change in cabinet member will result in a change of policy over bins,” he said.