Cllr Brenda Warrington has been confirmed as the first female Executive Leader of Tameside Council and the first female Chair of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund in its 95-year history at an extraordinary meeting of Tameside Council on Wednesday (31 January 2018). The £23 billion fund is the largest Local Government Pension Scheme in the United Kingdom.
Cllr Warrington's appointment comes as the nation marks 100 years of women’s suffrage – when women gained the right to vote in 1918.
Cllr Warrington said: "I’m quite excited about the prospect though I'm not here because I’m a woman – I'm a person who was elected to do the job and I happen to be a woman. I hope that more and more women are able to achieve senior positions and top jobs.
"I'm not afraid of hard work and to tackle the difficult issues and I care about people, particularly those who are more vulnerable."
Cllr Warrington replaces Cllr Kieran Quinn, who sadly passed away on Christmas Day at Tameside Hospital. Cllr Quinn, who had been Executive Leader and Chair for seven years, collapsed on December 23, while delivering cards in his Droylsden East ward. He was laid to rest on January 22 after a requiem mass attended by more than 600 people.
Cllr Warrington wants to continue Cllr Quinn's legacy while implementing her own ideas.
She said: "It's tinged with sadness. Nobody would have ever anticipated such a tragic and sudden death. But the world continues and we have to go ahead with the business of electing a new leader and chair.
"Kieran was an absolutely superb leader and chair. He had lots of energy and good ideas, was innovative, passionate and a hard worker. He didn't expect anyone to do something he wasn't prepared to do himself and I admired that in him.
Under his leadership the Greater Manchester Pension Fund experienced record growth and is now the biggest Local Government Pension Scheme in the UK. He led the way on the national debate about pension fund pooling and using investment to drive growth.
I believe he would expect us to follow his example and continue his good work and do the very best for the people of Tameside and the members of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund."
In her acceptance speech last night at Full Council, Cllr Warrington said that she recognised the significant work that needs to be undertaken by Tameside in its role as Administering Authority for the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, which has increased to £23 billion and to assist her in Chairing particularly with representation on the Northern Pool, which Tameside administers – she was appointing a Vice Deputy to support Cllr Mike Smith as Deputy and this will be Cllr Gerald Cooney – who has been on the Fund for over 30 years – commenting that of all the elected representatives there is probably no one with greater knowledge of its workings.