THE FIRST thing that a newly appointed cabinet member has done, is issue an apology to Powys County Council (PCC)

For days, sources have told the Local Democracy Service that Cllr Graham Breeze (Independent, Welshpool Llanerchyddol) was a favourite to be promoted to the cabinet.

But even on Monday, September 30, Cllr Breeze, a former editor of the County Times and a director of My Towns hyperlocal news outlets, was denying that he would be given a portfolio.

PCC announced the changes in a press release that was under embargo until 3pm on Wednesday afternoon.

An embargo is a request, although not enforceable in law, not to divulge the information until after a certain time.

But eager journalists at MyWelshpool and MyNewtown published the news well before 3pm.

Cllr Breeze, who is now the portfolio holder for corporate governance and engagement, told the Local Democracy Service: “Complete oversight by both MyWelshpool and MyNewtown and (I) have apologised to John Evans (press officer) on behalf of team.”

The changes are supposed to bring an end to a turbulent couple of weeks at county hall which saw two cabinet members, Cllrs Martin Weale (Independent, Llanbadarn Fynydd and Stephen Hayes (Independent, Montgomery) resign and a third Cllr Myfanwy Alexander moved sideways to avoid a vote of no confidence.

The second new face in cabinet is Cllr Heulwen Hulme (Independent, Rhiwcynon) who receives the newly created role of environment portfolio holder. This new portfolio seems to include planning, highways, and recycling.

Cllr James Evans (Conservative, Gwenrnyfed) takes over the economic development brief that was formerly held by Cllr Weale but keeps the housing and regulatory briefs.

Cllr Evans’ corporate governance part has now been handed to Cllr Breeze along with communications now re-branded as 'engagement'.

The portfolio holder responsibilities will be:

Cllr Rosemarie Harris (Independent, Llangynidr)

Cllr Aled Davies (Conservative, Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant)
Deputy Leader
Finance, Countryside and Transport

Cllr Myfanwy Alexander (Independent, Banwy)
Adult Social Care and Welsh Language

Cllr Graham Breeze (Independent, Welshpool Llanerchyddol)
Corporate Governance and Engagement

Cllr Phyl Davies (Conservative, Blaen Hafren)
Education and Property

Cllr James Evans (Conservative, Gwernyfed)
Economic Development, Housing and Regulatory Services

Cllr Heulwen Hulme (Independent, Rhiwcynon)

Cllr Rachel Powell (Independent, Beguildy)
Young People and Culture

Councillor Rosemarie Harris said: “The changes that I am announcing will come into force with immediate effect and are designed to give Cabinet members new challenges and wider experience of all council operations.

“The Cabinet will continue for the time being with eight members with some changes necessary in portfolio holder responsibilities.

“We have a significant agenda as a Cabinet.

“As a number of strategic programmes start to gather pace I will be keeping the number of Cabinet members under review and may seek to increase the number to 10 in due course.”

To take the cabinet up to 10 members Cllr Harris will need to put a business case in front of the democratic services to justify the need and extra expense.