The City Council has paid tribute to its Head of Law and Governance, Jeremy Thomas, who was taken ill while participating in a Bike Oxford cycling event on Sunday and tragically died later that day.
He was taken ill outside Ashendon, near Aylesbury, shortly after 11am yesterday (11/09/16) and taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford where he passed away.
Mr Thomas, who was 47, joined the City Council as Head of Legal and Democratic Services in July 2005 after a six-year stint with the City and County of Swansea, where he was Principal Deputy Head of Legal and Deputy Monitoring Officer. He served as Oxford City Council’s Monitoring Officer as well as Returning Officer for elections.
During his decade of service to the city, Mr Thomas presided over 30 elections covering Parish, County and City Councils, the general election and national referenda, as well as the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner.
Paying tribute to Mr Thomas, City Council Chief Executive Peter Sloman said: “I know I speak for everyone when I say we have lost a trusted and respected colleague, a man who made a huge contribution to this city and, more than anything, that we have all lost a kind, warm, supportive and much loved friend.”
Councillor Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, said: “Jeremy’s death is a tragic loss for the City Council. He made a transformational contribution to the City Council in many areas, and will be particularly remembered as the architect of the Council’s new Constitution, as well as for his work in establishing a highly efficient electoral registration system in a city with one of the highest levels of voter turnover in the country. He was a key member of the Corporate Management Team, and widely liked and respected by members. Our hearts go out to his family; their loss is even more grievous than ours.”
Colleagues in the Council’s Law and Governance department paid tribute to Mr Thomas, whom they described as “a highly effective lawyer and Monitoring Officer, always practical and pragmatic in his application of the law, but resolute on important matters of principle.”
Lindsay Cane, Legal Services Manager and a colleague of Mr Thomas’, said: “Always approachable and willing to offer assistance to all, Jeremy was respected throughout the Council. He was greatly liked by all in the Law and Governance department he led for over ten years, and to whom his loss will be keenly felt.”
At the City and County of Swansea, Mr Thomas headed up specialist teams on employment issues, constitutional work and corporate governance. He was respected for his sound judgement and approachable management style. His colleagues appreciated his personality, describing him as ‘having no ego’, and possessed with a good instinct for what the public interest is.