Essex County Council has welcomed its new Chairman, Cllr Kay Twitchen OBE, into the role as the civic and ceremonial head of the authority.
Billericay and Burstead Member Cllr Twitchen formally took over the post from Cllr Rodney Bass at Full Council as she moves into her 23rd year serving on the County Council. Cllr Norman Hume will take on the role of Vice Chairman.
Cllr Twitchen said: “I never imagined for one minute when I was first elected that I’d eventually become Chairman. I am approaching this role with some trepidation but also with a huge sense of pride that my colleagues have chosen me. I have learnt a large amount from Cllr Bass during my two years as his Vice Chairman, and his knowledge of things like the Constitution and Finance is extensive. He has been an outstanding Chairman. I have big shoes to fill!”
After spending two years as the Vice Chairman anticipating taking on the role, Cllr Twitchen is looking forward to engaging as much as possible with the community during her time in office.
Cllr Twitchen said: “I am really looking forward to getting out in the community of Essex and meeting people particularly in situations where the County Council works closely with Town and Parish Councils and with the voluntary sector. I thrive on seeing the achievements of young people and feel honoured to be able to congratulate them on behalf of the whole County Council at events such as prize giving and award ceremonies.”
During her career at the County Council Cllr Twitchen has been involved in many aspects of council business and was awarded an OBE for Services to Local Government in 2004. She served as Cabinet Member with responsibility for Waste and Environment from 2001 to 2005 when the county-wide waste management plan was established. It was the first example of partnership working with the 12 District and Borough Councils and Southend and Thurrock unitary authorities.
She has also driven forward the improvements with Overview and Scrutiny and until recently was the Chairman of the Scrutiny Board and the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee. Earlier in her time as a County Councillor she was proud to be involved in the project which brought the opening of the Leverton Secure Accommodation Unit.
Cllr Twitchen has also served on a number of outside bodies sharing her knowledge and expertise of working on environmental projects, including being Chairman of the Waste and Environmental Management Committee of the Local Government Association; the UK’s Lead Member for climate change and environmental issues for the Committee of the Regions Environment Commission; a Member of the Board of the Environment Agency; and involved in the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).
Away from the County Council, Billericay resident Cllr Twitchen enjoys gardening and spending time with her family. She has three adult children who were raised abroad for some years while the family lived in Fiji and Australia. Cllr Twitchen has followed in the footsteps of her grandfather who served as an Essex County Councillor for Grays from 1934 to 1949.