Councillor Mehboob Khan has stepped down as Chair of the Fire Authority.
Since his initial appointment to the Authority from Kirklees Council in 2004, Councillor Khan has served in a number of positions – Labour Group leader from 2005, as Vice Chair (2010 – 2012) followed by his position as Chair from June 2012.
Councillor Khan said: “I have greatly enjoyed my time as Chair here and have been impressed and encouraged by the high degree of professionalism and dedication shown by officers.”
“I have had the opportunity of working with an excellent set of senior managers and two Chief Fire Officers together with high calibre elected Members.
“The organisation is moving forward on a cross-party basis to be one of the best performing in the country so I must also pay credit to my Liberal Democrat and Conservative predecessors for leading the Authority to where it is now.
“These are very challenging times and decisions taken over the past two years have put the Authority in a strong position.
“We can’t take our foot off the accelerator, the Authority needs to move forward and look at all possible ways of reducing cost whilst trying not to be drawn into disputes which are not of the Authority’s making. It needs to continue to work in partnership with the political leaders and Chief Executives of the five West Yorkshire District Councils”.
Simon Pilling, chief fire officer and chief executive, paid tribute to Councillor Khan following his decision to step down as the Authority’s Chair.
He said: “He has always been very proactive and supportive of the service. At his very first meeting of the Fire Authority he made a public statement in support of its response and handling of the Birkby tragedy.
“He has been vocal about a number of important issues – not least in relation to what is now the Emergency Workers (Obstruction) Act 2006 which he sees as a deterrent to the abhorrent behaviour of attacking emergency workers during the course of their duty. He has also been a staunch supporter of changes in legislation relating to metal theft and subsequent fire risk”.
“During his tenure as Chair, Councillor Khan has dealt with the very real and sensitive issues surrounding the Fundamental Review and budget cuts as well as the current national firefighter industrial action.
“Taking a particular interest in our Integrated Risk Management Planning process [IRMP], he is determined to promote the accountability of the fire service to the community it serves with a focus on fire and personal safety issues for vulnerable members of our community.
“He has been very supportive of our partnership working and has always talked very enthusiastically about the Young Firefighters’ Scheme.
“Amongst many other things, Councillor Khan is recognised by members of the Management Board as someone who always sought to challenge the Service’s performance reports and a Chair who would leave no stone unturned in helping us become more effective in the face of increasing financial difficulty. He certainly kept everyone on their toes.”
“Although Councillor Khan will be staying on as a Fire Authority Member for a little while yet, we all wish him well for the future.”