MANSFIELD'S independent mayor Tony Egginton has given a cabinet seat to the man who sparked last year's historic mayoral referendum.
Stewart Rickersey was one of four independent councillors named on Mr Egginton's new-look team, which has pledged to drive Mansfield into a new 'exciting and challenging' era.
And speaking after his appointment as portfolio holder for corporate issues, Coun Rickersey said he was 'absolutely delighted' to have the opportunity to work with the mayor and his cabinet.
But he described claims that he will now be 'pulling the strings' within the council as offensive and an insult to Mr Egginton.
He said: "It must be apparent to anybody who knows what is going on that I am not pulling the strings. It's just a crock of nonsense.
"I do have some expertise in the area that I am responsible for, particularly as a result of being involved in media work for so many years and my work in PR. I have no doubt that the cabinet will continue to deliver."
And Mr Egginton, pictured, backed that view when he told Chad his new cabinet was picked on 'ability and availability' – and vowed that it would move 'Mansfield and the district council forward'.
"We have got an excellent team which will be working with an excellent team of officers that will make Mansfield the vibrant town we all want it to be," he told Chad.
He said the go-ahead scheme to breathe new life into the White Hart Street area of the town and the arrival of the Mansfield/Ashfield Regeneration Route were just two examples of a brighter future ahead for Mansfield people.
Other independents selected are Roger Sutcliffe, who replaces Coun Lorna Carter as portfolio holder for resources, and Danny Mc-Crossan (leisure and social).
And Mr Egginton has created a sixth cabinet post by splitting the old social and housing portfolio, with fellow independent councillor Alan Weaver taking on housing responsibilities.
Tory member Coun Kate Allsop retains her role as portfolio holder for regeneration and development, with Liberal Democrat Coun Phil Smith keeping his environment post.
Coun Smith also takes on the additional responsibility of being deputy mayor.