MONMOUTHSHIRE council’s ruling cabinet has a new member following a minor reshuffle by the leader of the Labour group. 

Council leader Mary Ann Brocklesby has appointed Llanfoist and Govilon Labour councillor Ben Collard to the executive and he takes over responsibility for finance – meaning he will have draw up the county’s budget for the next financial year and propose what level council tax should be. 

Caldicot Castle councillor Rachel Garrick, who had been responsible for finance since Labour came to power in the county at the May 2022 elections, remains on the cabinet on a job share basis with Cllr Callard. Their portfolio is described as “resources”, and responsibilities split with property and asset management, human resources and procurement remaining under Cllr Garrick’s command. 

Cabinet posts carry a £15,330 a year salary on top of the £16,800 paid to all councillors. 

Cllr Brocklesby, who represents Llanelly Hill, said: “I would like to thank Cllr Garrick for her effective work on behalf of the community and dedication to the role – a true asset to the people of Monmouthshire. I welcome Cllr Callard to cabinet, knowing he’ll bring the same passion and dedication he’s shown to his constituents. I am confident that the flexibilities and opportunities a job share brings will strengthen our cabinet team. 

 “I look forward to working with them both to ensure we continue to deliver for the people of Monmouthshire.” 

The job share has been criticised by the leader of the Conservative opposition, Mitchell Troy and Trellech councillor, Richard John due to the ongoing squeeze on the council’s budget. 

He said: “It seems a strange time to hand over control of the council’s finances to a new councillor and the changes mean that now half of the eight original cabinet members appointed when Labour took control of the authority just 16 months ago have quit, been sacked or had their portfolio cut in half.” 

The cabinet includes one Green Party councillor, as part of a deal that gives the Labour-led administration a small majority in the council chamber, and duties are split across seven portfolio areas. 

The cabinet membership was reduced to seven, after Abergavenny Cantref councillor Sara Burch, resigned in August after criticising another councillor as well as Monmouth MP David Davies over a public meeting that discussed land that could be used as a potential Gypsy Traveller site.