A DECISION on who to appoint as the new chairman of an important council scrutiny board, spurred by the resignation of a councillor, has been delayed for two months.

Following last week’s surprise resignation of Councillor Chris Bloore, who chaired Worcestershire County Council’s overview and scrutiny performance board (OSPB), the council’s Labour group put forward Cllr Richard Udall as his successor.

However other councillors, including leader Cllr Simon Geraghty, called for a delay to consider the appointment.

Labour councillors called it “absolutely ridiculous” and “unnecessary” to delay the decision.

Cllr Richard Udall, who chaired the scrutiny board between 2013 and 2017, was put forward again for his “considerable experience on the council and considerable experience in the role in the past.”

Cllr Adrian Hardman, deputy leader of the council, said the chairmanship was a “very important role” but whilst it was a Labour nomination it was still a full council decision.

He said that despite Cllr Udall chairing the scrutiny board with “some style and aplomb” in the past, he had focused too much on St John’s and Worcester rather than the county.

Cllr Liz Tucker, leader of the council’s 2017 group, said it would be “useful” to have more time to consider the appointment.

Cllr Peter McDonald said it was “absolutely ridiculous” to put the decision off and the council’s Conservatives should respect the nomination.

He said: “The facts are the OSPB is one of the most important panels in this county council. The business is crucial to this chamber and it needs to continue with a proper elected chairman.”

Cllr Luke Mallett: “It’s not simply that the chairman is absent, he is no longer a councillor.

“This creates a very dangerous precedent, that the constitution has been followed and it would appear the administration are seeking to delay the following of the constitution. I don’t know what conversations they expect will follow.”

Some Conservative councillors criticised Cllr Bloore for his bad attendance on the scrutiny board.

Cllr Marcus Hart said it was “exceptionally regrettable” that Cllr Bloore had only chaired two meetings of the "really important" OSPB in the last seven months.

The chairman of the scrutiny board is paid an extra £18,503 a year – the same as each cabinet member.

Cllr Adam Kent said he did not want to be left in the same “embarrassed situation” when only three councillors turned up to an important scrutiny meeting.

He said: “I hope moving forward, with this ‘urgent’ need to resolve the position, that we are mindful that the role of OSPB is extremely important across all parties and across all of the council’s business. I just hope I am never put in that position again.”