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Published: 2006-06-29 00:00:00

Regional councillor Barry O’Connor has stepped down as deputy chairman of Environment Waikato.

Council Chairman Jenni Vernon said Cr O’Connor had made the decision for health reasons. However, he would stay on as a councillor and continue to serve the Waipa constituency.

Councillors regretfully accepted Cr O’Connor’s resignation from the deputy’s post today.

“I have appreciated Barry’s commonsense approach, years of experience in public roles and commitment to the council team,” Mrs Vernon said.

“He has been a superb support to me and we look forward to welcoming him back after he has taken some take out to concentrate on his health.”

Cr Andra Neeley was unanimously elected as council’s new deputy chair at today’s meeting.

Cr Neeley said she had big shoes to fill and was flattered by council’s support.

“Barry was hugely respected, and very good at supporting the Chair and making sure the council as a team could do its job effectively and efficiently. He set a great example and I will relish the challenge of carrying on that work.”

In her new role she will support the Chairman and facilitate relationships between councillors, Environment Waikato staff and the regional community.

Barry O’Connor was elected as deputy chair of Environment Waikato following the triennial elections in 2004 and has served on the council since 2001.