THE Leader of Oldham Council has welcomed the selection of Tony Lloyd as the interim mayor of Greater Manchester.
Mr Lloyd was chosen by a panel representing the ten Greater Manchester councils after the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) meeting in May.
He will formally take up the post on June 26 but will also continue in his current role as GM’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
Jim McMahon, Oldham Council Leader, said: “I am delighted to welcome Tony Lloyd’s appointment as interim mayor.
“Tony is a great ambassador and advocate for Greater Manchester and has shown all these qualities in his role as the Police and Crime Commissioner.
“The devolution agreement has given us a fantastic opportunity to build on AGMA’s pioneering work.
“I’m looking forward to working alongside Tony and the other council leaders to ensure this interim period lays solid foundations for our future.
“Greater Manchester are the trailblazers in this process and we know our work to drive growth and reform will be watched very closely up and down the country.
“It’s also vital we make the case for devolution to all our residents and Tony’s appointment is the first step in that process.”
The appointment followed interviews, a series of engagement events around the region and sessions with key private, public and voluntary sector partners.
The interim mayor will work in partnership with the GMCA, providing strategic leadership in the transitional period up to May 2017 when, subject to legislation being passed, a mayor will be voted in by the Greater Manchester public.
The mayor will be responsible for new powers in relation to transport, housing, planning and policing but will be required to consult the GMCA cabinet. The existing Police and Crime Commissioner’s role will also be merged with the mayor’s role.
Mr Lloyd said: “This is an exciting and challenging time for Greater Manchester.
“As we move towards devolution we have to ensure there is a strong voice making the case to government on Greater Manchester’s behalf.
“I am pleased that I will be that voice, but to be effective my role must carry legitimacy with the people of Greater Manchester.
“The public must be involved as we move forward. Issues like health, community safety and economic development are too important for decisions to be made behind closed doors.”
A spokesman on behalf of the members of the selection panel added: “We are fortunate to have had two such high calibre candidates, with considerable experience and track records in public life.
“It was a difficult decision and there is no doubt that either of them would have served Greater Manchester well.
“The area has succeeded in gaining some significant devolved freedoms and flexibilities by making a powerful case to central government that better results can be achieved if decisions about the needs and priorities of Greater Manchester are made in Greater Manchester.
“The challenge now is to keep creating the conditions for economic growth and jobs creation and supporting 2.8 million people to access these opportunities.
“Tony will play a pivotal role in this as we all work together over the next two years.”