New council chair pledges to ensure openness for the public

Cllr Roberta Swiers

New council chair has pledged to ensure that the authority remains open and transparent for the public’s scrutiny after being appointed to the role.

Cllr Roberta Swiers has become our second chair after members voted her into the role during the authority’s annual general meeting today (15 May).

She has succeeded Cllr David Ireton, who has stood down from the position, and will hold the role for the next 12 months. Cllr George Jabbour was appointed as the council’s vice-chair.

Cllr Swiers said: “It is an honour to be given the opportunity to be the chair of North Yorkshire Council, especially to hold the role so soon after the authority has launched.

“As a council, we cover a vast area across England’s largest county while representing many varied and diverse communities.

“During my time as the council’s chair, I will ensure that the authority remains open and transparent and for the public to see whatever decisions are taken in a fair and measured way for the benefit of residents and businesses in the county.”

Cllr Swiers was elected as a member of the former North Yorkshire County Council in May 2017.

She then won the seat for the Cayton division in local elections which were held in May 2022 ahead of North Yorkshire Council’s launch in April last year.

Cllr Ireton was the first chair of North Yorkshire Council, which was created when the county council and seven district and borough councils merged to create a new unitary authority.

He had served as the interim chair of the county council following the death of his predecessor, Cllr Margaret Atkinson, in November 2022, before becoming the chair of the new authority in April last year.

Cllr Swiers has held a wide range of posts during her time as a councillor and has sat on the care and independence and housing overview and scrutiny committee, the general licensing and registration committee and the planning and regulatory functions committee.

She has also been a member of the Scarborough and Whitby area constituency committee, the statutory licensing committee and the strategic planning committee.

Cllr Swiers, who was a self-employed driving instructor for 40 years before retiring two years ago, has been appointed to outside bodies including the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust’s council of governors, the Scarborough and district branch of Citizens Advice and the Scarborough United Scholarships Foundation with the John Kendal Trust.

She has two sons and two granddaughters, who both work in the NHS as a paramedic and a passenger ambulance driver.