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Members of Norfolk County Council have confirmed Freebridge county councillor Derrick Murphy as the new leader of the authority following a full meeting of the County Council held this morning (Monday, Oct 11).
Mr Murphy, 59, went on to chair his first Cabinet meeting held immediately after councillors agreed his nomination - and paid warm tribute to outgoing leader Daniel Cox, who is heading to India with his wife Katie to do voluntary work.
Mr Murphy joined the county council in June 2009 and originally held the Cabinet post for Cultural Services. He was previously Deputy Leader of the County Council.
He announced changes to his Cabinet with effect from today as follows:
Derrick Murphy - Leader
Ian Mackie - Finance and Performance (and Deputy Leader)
Bill Borrett - Efficiency
David Harwood - Adult Social Services
Alison Thomas - Children's Services
Ann Steward - Sustainable Development
James Carswell - Cultural Services, Communications and Customer Service
Graham Plant - Travel and Transport
Harry Humphrey - Fire and Rescue
Mr Murphy said: "I feel very privileged to be given the opportunity to take on this role as leader of the county council, which is of crucial importance to the people of Norfolk, and which comes at what is a very difficult time for public services in our county. I am looking forward to meeting the challenges that the coming months will undoubtedly bring.
"Nobody can be in any doubt that these are extremely tough times for public services in Norfolk, but people who know me will tell you I relish a challenge, and I will be working extremely hard to protect front line services as far as possible."
Mr Murphy was educated at the University of East Anglia and the University of London and spent much of his career in education in both the independent and the state sectors, finishing as a senior administrator in a sixth form college. He has managed senior rugby union teams at Waterloo and Sale and is an author and editor of history books, having had more than 70 titles published. His wife Janet is a county councillor for Gayton and Nar Valley.
There are two new members of Cabinet as a result of today's changes:
James Carswell represents the Wroxham division and takes on the portfolio of Cultural Services, Communications and Customer Service previously held by Derrick Murphy. Mr Carswell has been a member of the County Council since June 2009 and until now has been a Deputy Cabinet member for Vulnerable Children.
Graham Plant represents the Breydon division and takes over the Travel and Transport portfolio. Mr Plant has been a member of the County Council since June 2009. He has lived in Bradwell for more than 15 years.
Derrick Murphy paid tribute to outgoing Travel and Transport Cabinet member, Adrian Gunson, who has served on the County Council for 40 years, and who was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours last June for his services to local government.
Mr Murphy added: "Everyone on the council wishes Adrian well. He was quite rightly awarded an MBE for his long and distinguished service to the people of Loddon and Norfolk and I am sure he will continue to serve the residents he represents very well for some time to come."
Earlier, there was a standing ovation from the full council for Daniel Cox. County Council Chairman Tony Tomkinson paid tribute to Mr Cox, with other tributes coming from Derrick Murphy, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Mervyn Scutter, Philip Hardy, Leader of the Green Group, and George Nobbs, Leader of the Labour Group.
Mr Cox said it had been the honour of his life to be given the opportunity to lead the council and that he had given the role his all.
Mr Tomkinson said in his tribute: "Under his leadership, this authority has taken a fresh approach and become more businesslike, customer focussed, efficient and outward facing. The council is known nationally for its use of resources and has more than surpassed efficiency saving targets. It has adopted its core strategic ambitions and Daniel has campaigned vigorously on issues such as the A11 and Post Office closures to speak up for Norfolk people on the issues which matter to them the most."