Councillor Colin Davidovitz is Hampshire County Council’s new Chairman, taking over the chain of office from Councillor Ken Thornber.
As the civic and ceremonial head of the authority, the Chairman presides over County Council meetings ensuring they are conducted in line with Standing Orders and that they remain a strong forum for debating issues. The Chairman also represents the County Council on royal visits and ceremonial occasions in Hampshire as well as other civic activities and duties.
A County Councillor for Chandler’s Ford for 13 years, Councillor Davidovitz is former Executive Member for Communications and Efficiency.
He chaired the panel that oversaw the introduction of cost-saving measures and the early action that helped put the County Council on a strong financial base to tackle the 43 per cent cut in Government grant that was to follow. Efficiencies such as smarter procurement and office-sharing have saved millions of pounds and helped keep Council Tax in Hampshire among the lowest in the country. Councillor Davidovitz was also instrumental in the Council moving towards greater transparency and openness in line with the Government’s Localism Bill to help empower local residents and communities.
He was elected Chairman by fellow councillors at the Annual Meeting of the County Council on Friday 30 May. His chosen theme for this year is Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s families as he supports the SSAFA National Armed Forces Charity, which helps members of the armed forces and their families. His Chairman’s year will also see the nation commemorate 100 years since the start of the First World War, and 70 years since D-Day.
He said: “I feel humbled but very proud to have been considered and elected for this great task. Hampshire is a fine county. It hosts many of the UK’s most important manufacturers and businesses as well as bases for all our excellent armed forces. In the year ahead we will be commemorating the anniversaries of their historic and heroic actions.“
Councillor Davidovitz joined the Royal Navy at the age of 15 as a boy telegraphist where he later qualified as a Russian linguist and electronic warfare specialist. He was awarded a British Empire Medal for ‘outstanding zeal and devotion to duty on naval intelligence’ after a single handed mission in Korea in 1952.
At the age of 25 Councillor Davidovitz left the Royal Navy to begin a new career as an electronic engineer at the start of Independent Television, where he took part, first in the opening of the London ITV service, then the Scottish and Southern ITV services. After transferring to broadcast management as Controller of Production at Southern Television in 1964, he later served at Central Television as Midland Controller and ended his broadcasting career as Director of Operations on the Board of ITV’s national breakfast time broadcasting company, TV-am in 1993.
In 1996 he was elected to Eastleigh Borough Council where he served until 2009. He was elected to Hampshire County Council in 2001.
Councillor Davidovitz paid tribute to out-going Chairman, Councillor Ken Thornber, thanking him for his generous support and guidance in his role as vice Chairman. Councillor Thornber’s highlights as County Council Chairman during 2013/14, included hosting the awards ceremony for the presentation of the British Empire Medal to eight Hampshire residents by the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire Dame Mary Fagan DCVO JP. Councillor Thornber also hosted the reception to mark the nomination of eight Hampshire voluntary organisations for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to the Community.
Former Executive Member for Economic Development Councillor Jonathan Glen has been appointed Vice Chairman of Hampshire County Council.