The Leader of Merton Council has paid tribute to the authority’s Cabinet Member for Finance, Tobin Byers, after he announced he would be stepping down to take up a new career role.
Cllr Byers will join the Civil Service in a politically-restricted role, meaning he cannot hold any office in the UK. He will therefore step down as both Cabinet Member and as a local Councillor with immediate effect.
As the vacancy has occurred within six months of the scheduled borough elections on 5 May, Councillor Byers’ seat in Graveney Ward will remain vacant until then.
Councillor Byers was first elected to Merton Council in 2014 and has held a number of Cabinet roles including health, adult social care, environment and finance.
Between now and the election, the council’s Joint Deputy Leader, Councillor Owen Pritchard will cover the finance portfolio, in addition to his role as Cabinet Member for Performance, Recovery and the Local Economy.
Council Leader Councillor Mark Allison said: “I would like to thank Tobin for the enormous contribution he has made to the council during the last eight years, both as a dedicated ward councillor and as a valued member of the cabinet.
“Through his various cabinet roles, Tobin has helped increase recycling rates, championed the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and overseen an increase in funding on care for some of the most vulnerable adults and older people in the borough.
“Most recently, Tobin has maintained the council’s good financial position, despite the financial pressures we continue to face as a result of the pandemic. We wish him the very best in this next exciting step in his career.
“I am also delighted that Cllr Owen Pritchard has agreed to take over the budget process in its final weeks before being agreed in March, ensuring we continue delivering key services for residents who need them, at below average Council Tax prices.”
Councillor Tobin Byers said: “I am incredibly grateful to my colleagues and council officers for their support during my time as an elected representative for our residents, and even more so to those in the community who have given unwavering support for many years. At the same time, I’m excited to take on a new challenge in the civil service.
“I will take away fond memories of working with the environment, adult social care, health and finance departments, as well as the council as a whole, and wish Mark and the team every future success.”