Friday, 17 October 2014

Councillor costs

 I understand that Cllr Folkes, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, is arguing that Cornwall Councillors should be reduced in number to 60 or 80.  As he acknowledges, we do not have the power in Cornwall to do this.  So that electoral divisions are decided without reference to party politics, this is dealt with by the Boundary Commission.

 I certainly agree that democracy at Cornwall Council is very expensive. But if Cllr Folkes is actually keen to reduce the cost, as opposed to just talk about it, there is much he could do. After all, 'democratic services' is his responsibility.

 Does he really think 19 member meetings/focus groups (generally attended by the Chief Executive) on the Council's Strategy are good value for public money?

 If he honestly thinks that we should half the number of councillors then another way of achieving a similar level of saving would be to half councillors' allowances.  There is no sign of this at all.

Indeed, when I suggested last week that, as hundreds of officers were losing their jobs, we could reduce the cost of Cabinet members, he rejected this out of hand.

Currently he is campaigning to re brand Cornwall Council as a Cornish Assembly. Backbenchers on Cornwall Council receive £12,000 a year. Members of the Welsh Assembly receive a minimum of £53,000.

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