Extraordinary meeting called over council allowances

A CHRISTMAS Eve meeting of all councillors is to be held by Wiltshire Council to discuss the increases in members’ allowances.

The extraordinary meeting of the full council was requested by five independent councillors under the terms of the council’s constitution.

They have remained angry since November when members voted in favour of recommendations made by the Independent Remuneration Panel to boost council leader Cllr Jane Scott's allowances by 36 per cent a year from £37,335 to £52,227.

Cabinet members' allowances were also increased by at least 22 per cent, rising from £15,101 to £18,433 a year, while councillors' basic allowances went up by one per cent to £12,289 a year.

The council made 250 staff redundant earlier in the year.

The move prompted business consultant Paul Gaunt to set up a petition calling for Cllr Scott and her cabinet to resign, which has received more than 2,400 signatures.

However, the timing of the meeting – on Christmas Eve - has now been criticised by two of the Independent members.

Cllr Jeff Osborn said: “This is being done just to rubbish what is a perfectly valid constitutional request.” Cllr Terry Chivers said: “It could be alleged that the ruling Conservatives have called the meeting on this day in the hope that some members may be away for Christmas and that they can bury the bad news over the Christmas holidays.”

In their formal request the five independents wrote that “The object of the meeting is to rescind the decision previously made to increase members’ allowances by up to 36 per cent.”

But the five members – who include Helen Osborn, Chris Caswill and Ernie Clark – have also been criticised by the leader of the Liberal Democrats on the council. Cllr Jon Hubbard said they were “throwing their toys out of the cot” and should have waited for a debate on the allowances set for February.

He said he did not approve of the allowances increases, but arranging the meeting at short notice would cost tens of thousands of pounds.

He said: “This is an example of all that is bad about politicians.”

Last week, Cllr Scott broke her silence on the allowances’ issue, saying new ways of working “put an awful lot of pressure on all of us, both members and officers”.

She said compared with other councils, Wiltshire had allowances that were relatively small, given the level of responsibility.

She said of the remuneration panel: “They wanted to make it right, not for me, but for the people who come after me.”

Comments (12)

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11:41am Tue 17 Dec 13

karlmarx says...

"The extraordinary meeting of the full council was requested by five independent councillors under the terms of the council’s constitution.

They have remained angry since November when members voted in favour of recommendations made by the Independent Remuneration Panel to boost council leader Cllr Jane Scott's allowances by 36 per cent a year from £37,335 to £52,227."

Yes, and they're not the only ones who have remained angry! How about the tens of thousands of people of Wiltshire forced into 'austerity measures' while having to listen to the sounds coming from the trough in Trowbridge?
"The extraordinary meeting of the full council was requested by five independent councillors under the terms of the council’s constitution. They have remained angry since November when members voted in favour of recommendations made by the Independent Remuneration Panel to boost council leader Cllr Jane Scott's allowances by 36 per cent a year from £37,335 to £52,227." Yes, and they're not the only ones who have remained angry! How about the tens of thousands of people of Wiltshire forced into 'austerity measures' while having to listen to the sounds coming from the trough in Trowbridge? karlmarx

11:44am Tue 17 Dec 13

karlmarx says...

And if any of those who attend put in a claim for 'allowances' for doing so...
Grrr!!!
And if any of those who attend put in a claim for 'allowances' for doing so... Grrr!!! karlmarx

11:52am Tue 17 Dec 13

karlmarx says...

I suspect the meeting has been scheduled for stupid o'clock on Christmas eve in the hope that nobody will attend, as mentioned in another local newspaper in the independent republic of Wiltshire (National government policies don't apply in Wiltshire)...

"Wiltshire Council has been slammed for scheduling an extraordinary meeting to discuss the controversial members’ allowance increases for Christmas Eve.

The Independent Political Group contacted the council’s chairman, Wiltshire Councillor Christine Crisp, with the request.

The meeting is due to take place at County Hall, in Trowbridge, at 9.30am, on Tuesday when the venue was due to be closed and council staff were supposed to be on holiday.

Jeff Osborn, Wiltshire councillor from the Independent Political Group, said: “I must say that I am extremely surprised the council are saying that a decision has been made to call the meeting for Christmas Eve, especially as I understood that County Hall was officially closed on that day and staff will have to be brought in at considerable inconvenience."

And expense.
I suspect the meeting has been scheduled for stupid o'clock on Christmas eve in the hope that nobody will attend, as mentioned in another local newspaper in the independent republic of Wiltshire (National government policies don't apply in Wiltshire)... "Wiltshire Council has been slammed for scheduling an extraordinary meeting to discuss the controversial members’ allowance increases for Christmas Eve. The Independent Political Group contacted the council’s chairman, Wiltshire Councillor Christine Crisp, with the request. The meeting is due to take place at County Hall, in Trowbridge, at 9.30am, on Tuesday when the venue was due to be closed and council staff were supposed to be on holiday. Jeff Osborn, Wiltshire councillor from the Independent Political Group, said: “I must say that I am extremely surprised the council are saying that a decision has been made to call the meeting for Christmas Eve, especially as I understood that County Hall was officially closed on that day and staff will have to be brought in at considerable inconvenience." And expense. karlmarx

11:55am Tue 17 Dec 13

karlmarx says...

Can't wait to see how one of our local smoke and mirrors experts tries to make a silk purse out of this sows ear.
Can't wait to see how one of our local smoke and mirrors experts tries to make a silk purse out of this sows ear. karlmarx

5:49pm Tue 17 Dec 13

karlmarx says...

"Extraordinary meeting called over council allowances"

In hindsight shouldn't the headline read...

Meeting called over extraordinary council allowances?
"Extraordinary meeting called over council allowances" In hindsight shouldn't the headline read... Meeting called over extraordinary council allowances? karlmarx

10:52am Wed 18 Dec 13

Richard Clewer says...

Fortunately this meeting has now been cancelled. We were already going to discuss allowances again in early February.

By calling an emergency meeting the independent Councillors forced a meeting to be held inside 7 working days. Given the notice period of 3 clear working days that allowed for a meeting to be held on either Christmas Eve, the Friday after Boxing Day (when most Council admin staff are on holiday) or New Years Eve. Christmas Eve was the least distruptive of the three and therefore chosen.

It is nice to see that some sense has prevailed and I think that Cllr Osborne has done the right thing in waiting until a scheduled meeting in February. The cost of an emergency meeting would have been on a similar level to the yearly increase in cost of all allowances from what I have been told.

No Karl, no conspiracy, no dark plot. Just adherance to the legally binding constitution of the Council.
Fortunately this meeting has now been cancelled. We were already going to discuss allowances again in early February. By calling an emergency meeting the independent Councillors forced a meeting to be held inside 7 working days. Given the notice period of 3 clear working days that allowed for a meeting to be held on either Christmas Eve, the Friday after Boxing Day (when most Council admin staff are on holiday) or New Years Eve. Christmas Eve was the least distruptive of the three and therefore chosen. It is nice to see that some sense has prevailed and I think that Cllr Osborne has done the right thing in waiting until a scheduled meeting in February. The cost of an emergency meeting would have been on a similar level to the yearly increase in cost of all allowances from what I have been told. No Karl, no conspiracy, no dark plot. Just adherance to the legally binding constitution of the Council. Richard Clewer

12:17pm Wed 18 Dec 13

brandx says...

It still seems to me that the decision by the Tory Chairman of Wiltshire Council to hold the Extraordinary Council meeting was a Tory ploy, that was just too clever by half. Christmas Eve is an official County Hall holiday.

Any way it all came unstuck. Apparently both the motion for recission (scrapping) of the Members Allowances decision and presentation of Paul Gauint's petition will now take place on 4th February.
It still seems to me that the decision by the Tory Chairman of Wiltshire Council to hold the Extraordinary Council meeting was a Tory ploy, that was just too clever by half. Christmas Eve is an official County Hall holiday. Any way it all came unstuck. Apparently both the motion for recission (scrapping) of the Members Allowances decision and presentation of Paul Gauint's petition will now take place on 4th February. brandx

8:51pm Wed 18 Dec 13

karlmarx says...

Richard Clewer wrote:
Fortunately this meeting has now been cancelled. We were already going to discuss allowances again in early February.

By calling an emergency meeting the independent Councillors forced a meeting to be held inside 7 working days. Given the notice period of 3 clear working days that allowed for a meeting to be held on either Christmas Eve, the Friday after Boxing Day (when most Council admin staff are on holiday) or New Years Eve. Christmas Eve was the least distruptive of the three and therefore chosen.

It is nice to see that some sense has prevailed and I think that Cllr Osborne has done the right thing in waiting until a scheduled meeting in February. The cost of an emergency meeting would have been on a similar level to the yearly increase in cost of all allowances from what I have been told.

No Karl, no conspiracy, no dark plot. Just adherance to the legally binding constitution of the Council.
Yeah, and the other one has bells on it.
[quote][p][bold]Richard Clewer[/bold] wrote: Fortunately this meeting has now been cancelled. We were already going to discuss allowances again in early February. By calling an emergency meeting the independent Councillors forced a meeting to be held inside 7 working days. Given the notice period of 3 clear working days that allowed for a meeting to be held on either Christmas Eve, the Friday after Boxing Day (when most Council admin staff are on holiday) or New Years Eve. Christmas Eve was the least distruptive of the three and therefore chosen. It is nice to see that some sense has prevailed and I think that Cllr Osborne has done the right thing in waiting until a scheduled meeting in February. The cost of an emergency meeting would have been on a similar level to the yearly increase in cost of all allowances from what I have been told. No Karl, no conspiracy, no dark plot. Just adherance to the legally binding constitution of the Council.[/p][/quote]Yeah, and the other one has bells on it. karlmarx

5:20am Thu 19 Dec 13

karlmarx says...

Richard Clewer wrote:
Fortunately this meeting has now been cancelled. We were already going to discuss allowances again in early February.

By calling an emergency meeting the independent Councillors forced a meeting to be held inside 7 working days. Given the notice period of 3 clear working days that allowed for a meeting to be held on either Christmas Eve, the Friday after Boxing Day (when most Council admin staff are on holiday) or New Years Eve. Christmas Eve was the least distruptive of the three and therefore chosen.

It is nice to see that some sense has prevailed and I think that Cllr Osborne has done the right thing in waiting until a scheduled meeting in February. The cost of an emergency meeting would have been on a similar level to the yearly increase in cost of all allowances from what I have been told.

No Karl, no conspiracy, no dark plot. Just adherance to the legally binding constitution of the Council.
“We did not call it for Christmas Eve when it is so inconvenient. They tried to make us look like clowns and that was petty politics so I agreed to a compromise because it would be stupid to have a Christmas meeting. Common sense has prevailed, but the issue has not gone away and will be tackled at a meeting on February 4.”

So, they DID NOT call it for Christmas eve.....THEY TRIED TO MAKE US LOOK LIKE CLOWNS and that was PETTY POLITICS.

Well said sir, there's no rush as long as justice is seen to be done in these days of austerity measures (for some) and gravy trains (for others).
[quote][p][bold]Richard Clewer[/bold] wrote: Fortunately this meeting has now been cancelled. We were already going to discuss allowances again in early February. By calling an emergency meeting the independent Councillors forced a meeting to be held inside 7 working days. Given the notice period of 3 clear working days that allowed for a meeting to be held on either Christmas Eve, the Friday after Boxing Day (when most Council admin staff are on holiday) or New Years Eve. Christmas Eve was the least distruptive of the three and therefore chosen. It is nice to see that some sense has prevailed and I think that Cllr Osborne has done the right thing in waiting until a scheduled meeting in February. The cost of an emergency meeting would have been on a similar level to the yearly increase in cost of all allowances from what I have been told. No Karl, no conspiracy, no dark plot. Just adherance to the legally binding constitution of the Council.[/p][/quote]“We did not call it for Christmas Eve when it is so inconvenient. They tried to make us look like clowns and that was petty politics so I agreed to a compromise because it would be stupid to have a Christmas meeting. Common sense has prevailed, but the issue has not gone away and will be tackled at a meeting on February 4.” So, they DID NOT call it for Christmas eve.....THEY TRIED TO MAKE US LOOK LIKE CLOWNS and that was PETTY POLITICS. Well said sir, there's no rush as long as justice is seen to be done in these days of austerity measures (for some) and gravy trains (for others). karlmarx

2:35pm Mon 23 Dec 13

brandx says...

As the Council meeting to scrap the massive increase in Allowances for Wiltshire Council Leader and Cabinet will now go ahead on 4th February and the petition will be presented at the same meeting, all good folk of Wiltshire please sign the petition.

We can make a big impact and get some fairness and common sense back into County Hall.
As the Council meeting to scrap the massive increase in Allowances for Wiltshire Council Leader and Cabinet will now go ahead on 4th February and the petition will be presented at the same meeting, all good folk of Wiltshire please sign the petition. We can make a big impact and get some fairness and common sense back into County Hall. brandx

8:21am Tue 24 Dec 13

Lady Tinky Winky says...

Richard Clewer come back in the real world, because you are not on the planet where normal, sane people live.
You live in some sort of parallel world.
Richard Clewer come back in the real world, because you are not on the planet where normal, sane people live. You live in some sort of parallel world. Lady Tinky Winky

10:46am Mon 30 Dec 13

brandx says...

I see that PRIVATE EYE has now featured the Wiltshire Council Leader and Cabinet members' allowances rip off in their Rotten Boroughs section. With fame like this, Jane Scott will doubtless be rewarded in the Honours list.

There is still time to sign the petition and get the hard pressed public's view known.
I see that PRIVATE EYE has now featured the Wiltshire Council Leader and Cabinet members' allowances rip off in their Rotten Boroughs section. With fame like this, Jane Scott will doubtless be rewarded in the Honours list. There is still time to sign the petition and get the hard pressed public's view known. brandx

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