Wirral Council – Steve Maddox awarded Freedom of the Borough
In a well attended meeting at Wallasey Town Hall last night, attended by councillors, senior officers, Steve Maddox (and family), assorted invited guests and about thirty members of the public Steve Maddox was awarded Freedom of the Borough.
Despite his microphone not working, the Mayor of Wirral, Cllr Alan Jennings gave a speech detailing Steve’s service to Wirral Council and the people of Wirral referring to Mr. Maddox as an exceptional public servant. The Mayor went on to detail Steve’s career from Council trainee to Chief Executive and said that it was a "most appropriate tribute" to a "true public servant". He went on to call Mr. Maddox an "innovative forward thinker" who would insist on seeing every employee once a year at a roadshow. He went on to refer to Mr. Maddox as modest, thoughtful and supportive of the Council and colleagues. He said Mr. Maddox had integrity and that to be awarded an Honorary Freeman was very rare and only happened to exceptional people. He said that he had rendered eminent service to the Borough and mentioned Mr. Maddox’s OBE. He then proposed the motion to make Mr. Maddox an Honorary Freeman of the Borough.
The Conservative leader Cllr Green spoke first, seconding the motion. He called Mr. Maddox a "shining example of a man dedicated to public service" who had "impressed me with his commitment to excellent local services". Cllr Green went on to talk about the Open Gold scheme and Wirral Waters. He told those present about how Mr. Maddox is the current tourism ambassador and Mr. Maddox’s earlier work with Merseytravel, NHS and support for schools in special measures. He said that Mr. Maddox was a shy and modest man and stated that he had started a charity into which he had donated his fee he received as Returning Officer.
The Labour leader Cllr Foulkes spoke next, jointly seconding the motion. He brought up Mr. Maddox’s humble background and mentioned his passionate determination. He referred to Mr. Maddox’s work on the governing body of a primary school and mentioned the Open Golf tournament. He joked that the one thing the Conservative Minister Eric Pickles had got right was his recent decision over Wirral Waters. Cllr Foulkes also referred to HMS Astute and said that Mr. Maddox had had a "great career". He said Mr. Maddox was backed up by his family (who were with him).
The Lib Dem leader Cllr Holbrook then spoke about the winter maintenance arrangements, public health, Youth Forums, Older Peoples Parliament.
The motion was unanimously approved with calls for a card vote. Mr. Maddox was awarded a small token of esteem from the Mayor and other councillors in a John Lewis bag and his wife was given a bunch of flowers.
Mr. Maddox was then invited to speak. He said that it’d be 36 years next week since he started at Wirral Council and expressed regret that his father couldn’t come. He said he’d been attended council meetings as a senior officer for 20 years; with about 8 council meetings a year that made about 160 council meetings. He said this had been the first time he had been asked to say anything after listening to 700 to 800 hours of debate. He joked in saying does how long he’s had to listen reflect how long you’d have to listen to his speech. He expressed his thanks and said he would be eternally grateful. He mentioned how other distinguished people had been awarded this honour and that he had recommended one or two people. He said he was not awfully sure what he’d done to qualify for it.
He went on to say that he was received the award for the staff and the thousands of people he had worked with. He said he was proud to be associated with every member of Wirral Council. He said he truly appreciated the political differences among councillors and of the need to support democracy which involves challenge and disagreement. He talked about tough decision and it had been an absolute honour. A photo was taken of Steve, the Mayor and the certificate followed by the Mayor closing the meeting.