Charlton councillor Linda Perks is to become Greenwich Council’s cabinet member for finance following the resignation of Chris Kirby.
Perks will be in charge of controlling council finances that have been hit by a decade of austerity and the costs of the coronavirus pandemic.
Plans to increase council tax by 4.99 per cent were approved by the council’s cabinet last night and will be formally ratified by councillors tonight.
Last night’s cabinet meeting was the last for Kirby, who confirmed last month that he was standing down to move out of the capital. Council leader Danny Thorpe praised his “outstanding contribution over the years” at the beginning of the meeting.
Perks was formerly the London regional secretary of the Unison union. Three years ago 853 reported she had been condemned by a judge after after “flagrantly” breaking the union’s rules to help its general secretary get re-elected. It was ruled she had openly campaigned for Dave Prentis during working hours in a role where she should have stayed neutral. At the time, Greenwich Labour said she had been “open and transparent” about the issue while campaigning to be selected as a council candidate in Charlton.
At the town hall she has been a “project assistant” to the cabinet – a role which has become a stepping stone to a promotion – and a leading member of the council’s main planning committee, the planning board; a role she is likely to have to step down from as Thorpe banned cabinet members from taking planning decisions when he became council leader in 2018.
Thorpe said in a council statement: “I am delighted that Cllr Perks is joining our cabinet. Having gone through several years of dwindling budgets, compounded by the pandemic, it will not be an easy job but I am sure that she will be up for the challenge.”
Perks said: “I’m pleased to be joining the cabinet but I am under no illusions of the task ahead. With the end of the pandemic now in sight, all our attention must be on helping our borough recover. We are in unchartered waters, but together with hardworking officers we will do all we can to ensure our books are balanced and we can help support residents and help businesses get back on their feet.”
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