Linslade councillor replaced as Central Bedfordshire Council chairman after sudden resignation

Conservative Sandy councillor Caroline Maudlin has replaced her Linslade colleague Gordon Perham as chairman of Central Bedfordshire Council, following his sudden resignation.
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He has taken the decision to stand down after what an Independent councillor described on social media as "a number of chaotic meetings" of the local authority. It has been confirmed that Cllr Perham has left the role due to health reasons.

Councillor Maudlin was CBC's vice-chairman and was voted in as chairman at a full council meeting on Thursday (Dec 12th) in preference to Independent Flitwick councillor Gareth Mackey.

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She will remain in the post until the May local elections, after which nominations will be taken for the position again.

Councillor Maudlin and Councillor Perham. Images: Central Bedfordshire Council.Councillor Maudlin and Councillor Perham. Images: Central Bedfordshire Council.
Councillor Maudlin and Councillor Perham. Images: Central Bedfordshire Council.

Conservative Flitwick councillor Neil Bunyan proposed councillor Maudlin, saying: "I've worked with her for some time now and she's chaired this council before. I'm sure she'll be a perfect chairman for the local authority."

Independent Toddington councillor Silvia Collins seconded her, adding: "Councillor Maudlin's the obvious choice, being the stand-in chairman, not only because she's familiar with the process but because she's a professional, level headed councillor and very capable of working under pressure."

Independent Potton councillor Adam Zerny described councillor Mackey as "an exceptional candidate" to be chairman, having also backed him for the position last May.

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Seconding him, Independent Biggleswade South councillor Hayley Whitaker said: "Councillor Mackey is eloquent, fair-minded and modest, as well as having a fantastic grasp of the constitution."

CBC chief executive Marcel Coiffait confirmed after the vote that councillor Maudlin was elected chairman "for the remainder of this council year".

Councillor Maudlin said: "I would like to take this moment and thank you for electing me into this position. Personally I'm really saddened by councillor Perham's resignation.

"I'd like to thank him for being so active across CBC. That's a huge part of being chairman of this council. Chairing this meeting once a month or so is just a small part of it.

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"The key aspect is being out and about meeting groups and organisations, representing the council. Gordon excelled in this. He was really happy to go out, engage and really get stuck in, meeting the community.

"I wish him all the best for resuming his duties when he's ready both within his community and on the committees he serves.

"It's a challenging council meeting and I'll do my very best that in future you look forward to coming to debate issues and don't feel threatened in any way."

Councillor Bunyan was appointed vice-chairman unopposed, after being proposed by his Flitwick ward colleague Charles Gomm.

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Independent Aspley and Woburn councillor John Baker said on social media that a full council meeting in November ended "with frayed tempers", when the Conservative council leader Richard Wenham wanted to debate food banks, while councillor Perham wanted to end proceedings and did so.

"That said, I’ve worked with councillor Perham a few times in sub-committees," added councillor Baker. "He’s genuinely a decent guy and this outcome is deeply regrettable."

Councillor Perham was selected as chairman last May to replace Conservative Stotfold and Langford councillor Brian Saunders, having been his deputy previously.