The current Lord Mayor of Hull, Cllr Colin Inglis, is a very colourful figure to say the least. A former leader of the city council, and a former chairman of Humberside Police Authority, he made it clear a few weeks ago he fully intends to use his term as Lord Mayor as a platform in his bid to become Humberside's first Police and Crime Commissioner.
When it comes to wasting money, he is no stranger to controversy. Under his leadership the council spent £650K on a big screen very few wanted. The decision was made by him without public consultation and the screen was eventually removed at the beginning of last year. This is a man who shamelessly wastes our money, and isn't bothered in the least if we don't like it.Last week I was sent a copy of an invitation he has sent out to newly elected councillors and two of the city's MPs. He plans to wine and dine them at our expense. This is what Cllr Inglis had to say:
"Hosting dinners is what the Lord Mayor does. As it happens, in the six weeks since my installation we haven't even had one dinner. I have invited Karl Turner because he is a new MP and Diana Johnson MP because she has never previously been invited to a dinner by any Lord Mayor"
You have to feel sorry for him. He has been Lord Mayor for six weeks and he hasn't hosted one dinner! Not that any of the plebs will be invited to one of his soirées. We just pick-up the tab. Liberal Democrat, Cllr Craig Woolmer has this to say about the event:
"No member of our group is attending on the grounds that they believe it's a waste of money. The reason being given for the dinner is that it will give new councillors an opportunity to see the Lord Mayor's Parlour.
At a time when the council is having to make cuts, it is hypocritical to have councillors wining and dining like this at taxpayers' expense."
I couldn't agree more. As elected councillors, I'm sure any one of them can meet the Lord Mayor in his parlour when they visit the Guildhall on council business. They don't need a three course meal with all the trimmings to be given the opportunity of saying hello.
It seems Cllr Inglis will make sure he lives the high life during his term of office, and no doubt will do what all other civic dignitaries do - eat, drink and be merry at as many official knees-ups in the area as possible.
At a time when the council is having problems balancing the books, the last thing it needs is a profligate Lord Mayor.