The political balance on the Council is 27 Conservative Councillors and 27 Labour Councillors as a result of the Borough Council elections on 22 May 2014.
At Annual Council on 11 June 2014 a new Conservative Mayor, Councillor Doreen Stephenson, was elected. Councillor Rosie Evans was elected Deputy Mayor.
After an adjournment of the meeting, Conservative Councillor David Westley was then elected Leader of the Council and he appointed Conservative Councillor Paul Greenall as Deputy Leader and three other Cabinet members. He will advise of additional Cabinet members and also portfolios shortly.
Committee Chairmen were also appointed at the Annual Meeting. The Committees will be politically balanced and therefore decisions will be dependent on the casting vote of each of the Chairmen.
Councillor Doreen Stephenson will be West Lancashire’s first female Mayor, having served as Deputy Mayor for the civic year 2013/14. Her husband John will join her in her civic duties as her Consort. West Lancashire became a borough in 2009 and has had a Mayor since then.
Local politics runs in Councillor Stephenson’s family as her grandfather Alfred Lea was a Councillor on Ormskirk Urban District Council from 1938 to 1974 and was Chairman on two occasions. Her father Norman was a Councillor on West Lancashire District Council, and her brother Peter also served as a Councillor on West Lancashire District/Borough Council.
Doreen Lea, as she was then, started her working life in the family horticultural business, and then worked for Clucas’s Seed in Ormskirk before joining Lancashire Police. She was based in Skelmersdale between 1971 and 1980, but left when she started a family and then started helping her husband with his engineering business.
Councillor Stephenson has served as a Parish Councillor for about 20 years. She was a member of Downholland Parish Council for several years in the mid-1990s before being elected to Halsall Parish Council, on which she currently serves.
Councillor Stephenson has represented Halsall on the Borough Council since 2002. Prominent roles she has held include Vice-Chairman of the Planning Committee and member of the Licensing and Appeals and Licensing and Gambling Committees.
Councillor Stephenson said: “I am very proud of my family’s history of service in local politics and I can remember attending functions with my grandfather when I was about 10-years-old.
“I enjoyed my role as Deputy Mayor and I am looking forward to being Mayor. Having worked as a police officer and been a Councillor for many years I feel comfortable speaking to people from all walks of life, and I hope to bring my empathy with other people and my interpersonal skills to the role.
“I will also be raising money for small deserving local charities, including Home-Start, Skem Men-Aces and Ormskirk Hospital Radio. I will seek to help others I come across during my Mayoral year.”
The new Deputy Mayor will be Councillor Rosie Evans, who currently serves as a Councillor for Tarleton.