Councillor Dine Romero has announced she is standing down as leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council and the council’s Liberal Democrat group.
Deputy council leader Councillor Richard Samuel is set to take on the council leader’s duties until a new leader is elected at a meeting in May.
Councillor Romero was appointed to the role in 2019 and has served on the council since 2003. She will continue to represent Southdown as a ward councillor.
Councillor Romero said: “It is with great sadness that I announce that I am standing down as council leader.
“Councillor Kevin Guy is now the Liberal Democrat group leader with immediate effect and will be the group’s nomination for leader at the council’s Annual Meeting in May.
“I wish to thank everyone who has worked with, and supported me, during the last two years as leader of the council.
“I am incredibly proud of what the council has achieved both before and during the pandemic.
“I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all council officers and council partners who have worked so hard, and in particular everyone who has supported our most vulnerable residents, kept services going through the pandemic and helped mitigate the economic impact for our local businesses”.
Steve Gourley, local party chair, said: “Dine has worked phenomenally hard since the Lib Dems took control of B&NES in May 2019, especially given the nature of the global pandemic and the impact it has had on all of us.
“We all owe Dine immense gratitude for the way she has worked tirelessly to ensure our community coped as well as it has.”
Cllr Kevin Guy added: “Dine has so much to be proud of in addition to dealing with the pandemic. We have got some council housing, have planted thousands of trees, started the process for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, got the first Clean Air Zone outside of London, worked with local business to help them weather the COVID storm, amongst many other achievements.
“I am humbled and honoured to take on this role and relish the chance afforded to myself and my team, to truly make a huge positive difference to the lives of all in our authority.”
Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, said: “I would like to warmly thank Dine for all her hard work over the past two years.
“She and her team have laid a strong foundation by making real progress tackling the biggest challenges our community faces.
“Dine played a key role helping to establish the Compassionate Community Hub, unique to B&NES, which has provided vital support for our most vulnerable residents during the pandemic.
“I am looking forward to working with Kevin and the rest of the Liberal Democrat Council team to build on what Dine has achieved.”