Cabinet member resigns due to ill health

Debbie Kennard has stepped down as cabinet member for safer and stronger communities at West Sussex County Council
Debbie Kennard has stepped down as cabinet member for safer and stronger communities at West Sussex County Council

A cabinet member at West Sussex County Council has resigned due to ill health.

Debbie Kennard, who represents Shoreham North, announced the decision to step down from the safer and stronger communities portfolio at a meeting today (Friday July 19).

This follows a highly critical report on West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, delivered by inspectors last month.

She will be replaced with immediate effect by Jacquie Russell, councillor for East Grinstead South and Ashurst Wood.

Louise Goldsmith, leader of the council, said: “Debbie has been a tireless supporter of all the services in her portfolio area; the fire service, the library service and the important work our communities team does.

“She came into politics because she cares deeply about people and especially the residents of West Sussex.

“She has been a breath of fresh air and has always had a smile for everyone she has come into contact with - members, staff and the public alike.

“I am very grateful for her hard work to date, her ongoing commitment to support the new cabinet member using her knowledge and experience, and I am delighted that she will continue in her role as military champion where she has made an outstanding contribution.”

Mrs Russell was elected to the council in 2017. She has sat on the planning and rights of way committees and is a former adviser to the cabinet Mmmber for safer and stronger communities.

More recently she has been the adviser to the cabinet member for highways and infrastructure.

Mrs Goldsmith said: “We welcome Jacquie to the Cabinet and I am confident she will make an invaluable contribution to the council’s work. With her previous experience she is in a strong place to press ahead with the improvement of our Fire & Rescue Services and deliver our exciting Community Hubs programme.”