FORMER leader and executive mayor of Lewisham Dave Sullivan has revealed his intention to resign later this year.

The man, who pioneered the borough's leader-and-cabinet style of governance, has announced plans to leave barely two months after the system came into full force.

Councillor Sullivan was not chosen as Labour's candidate for directly elected mayor, a seat won by the party's Steve Bullock, but insists his decision is not "sour grapes".

The 54-year-old, leader of the council from 1985-88 and 1998 and executive mayor in the three years until May 2002, said: "I'm very positive about what I'm doing. I want the council, the mayor and the cabinet to do well. I'm passionate about Lewisham. I worked my guts out for the borough and want it to carry on like that but I have to look out for my family.

"The council has always been my priority and I haven't taken care of my future at all and I need to do that."

When he won his first election for a Manor Lee seat 20 years ago, he thought he would be involved with the borough for one or two terms.

Talking about his achievements he added: "When I became leader in the 80s, Lewisham was a loony left council and now, when I retire, it is one of the best run local authorities in the UK, perceived by the Government as an excellent local authority pioneering national initiatives."

He said he has a number of options but is looking at consultancey work within local government. A ward by-election is due to take place in the autumn.

Leader of the Conservatives Councillor Barrie Anderson said: "I think he was quite remarkable in his last few years as leader of the council. He gave the council a new vision."

Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Matthew Huntbach, who believes he should have stuck around to see how the new system works, said: "If he decided it was mayor or nothing he should not have stood as councillor in the elections only to stand down a couple of months later."

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July 8, 2002 19:30