Leicester mayor Sir Peter Soulsby criticised as new assistant role is created
Sir Peter Soulsby has appointed another assistant mayor in a shake-up of Leicester City Council bosses.
Councillor Rita Patel was yesterday added to the city mayor's executive team and put in charge of adult social care.
She takes over the responsibility from Councillor Mohammed Dawood, who will remain as assistant mayor for housing.
Sir Peter has taken charge of the city council's transport from his deputy Rory Palmer, who will now focus on public health and climate change.
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Sir Peter, who also previously took over the regeneration brief from former assistant mayor Ted Cassidy, said: "There are many significant challenges facing the council over the coming months and it's vital that we have a strong and effective team to take us forward.
"The changes I have made will enable us to focus more clearly on issues that present us with the biggest challenges and best opportunities."
The reshuffle has been criticised by Tory city councillor Ross Grant, who said: "I question whether we need another assistant mayor at all.
"This looks like a job creation scheme for Labour councillors."
Coun Grant said: "Peter Soulsby has often said he wants to keep the costs of the mayoral system down but he has just decided to make another assistant mayor and grab a load more responsibility for himself.
"To me, that doesn't suggest he has a lot of confidence in his assistants and he doesn't feel he can delegate. I would also question whether he has the ability to do everything he has taken on, given the very important nature of his responsibilities."
Coun Patel will now be entitled to an assistant mayor's special responsibility allowance of £16,466.
Sir Peter said: "There is no magic number for the number of assistant mayors. It needs to be tailored to the scale of work at a particular time. Rory (Palmer) is taking a considerable amount of work off me by taking on public health for which the council will have far greater responsibility from April.
"Transport links in very well with regeneration and the economic brief I have, particularly given the opportunities presented to us with a potential City Deal."
He said he was pleased with the performances of the existing city mayors and though their responsibilities had changed he would not be reviewing the pay they receive.
Councillor Manjula Sood will take "an enhanced role in community involvement" and have extra responsibilities for partnerships and equalities.
Coun Dawood told the Mercury he was happy with the changes Sir Peter had made.
He said: "It's for the best for the city. Housing is a big role and so too is adult social care. There are a lot of changes coming in and problems we face because of the coalition's policies and they need attention."
Coun Patel said: "Like many cities, Leicester has a growing elderly population and the way they use services is changing.
"Delivering high-quality services in the face of very tough financial pressures will be a major challenge but it's one I am looking forward to taking on."
There will be no changes to the roles of Councillor Vi Dempster, assistant mayor for children, young people and schools, Councillor Sarah Russell, who leads on neighbourhood services, and Councillor Piara Clair, who is responsible for sport and leisure.