A panel set-up to improve Stoke-on-Trent City Council has been highly criticised by elected members for paying its board members allowances totalling no less than £62,000 – that works out at a whopping £400 per meeting.
The Stoke-on-Trent Governance Board (GTB) uses money provided by the Regional Improvement Efficiency Partnership (RIEP) and distributed through the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA), and if that doesn’t sound bureaucratic and inefficient enough, it just gets worse.
One of the board members is non-other than the former leader of the council’s Labour group, who was appointed to the role within 6 months of losing his seat! Just how can an unpopular and unsuccessful politician be qualified to dish out advice on how to run Stoke properly? This has more than a whiff of nepotism about it, and at these rates of pay it’s entirely unacceptable that someone like this is effectively being paid as a consultant.
But it’s a better deal than being a councillor isn’t it? Fewer meetings, a better allowance and no chance of being voted out like the last time. Altogether more comfortable for someone whose performance as a politician clearly puts him at risk in a democratic election.
Lib Dem councillor Paul Billington suggests in The Sentinel’s article that the £62,000 should instead be spent on training to bring the councillors up to scratch, which only goes to prove how lamentably bad this bunch are…
So Stoke-on-Trent City Council are so wasteful and inefficient that the people of the city either have to pay for a consultancy board (made-up, in part, by the culprits), or for the councillors they already pay for to be trained to do their jobs? And this is after already having forked out thousands for spin to cover the mess they were denying? Not to mention the millions spent on refurbishments of the council building?
This state of affairs is insulting at a time of recession, and hopefully those who have overseen this disaster will be held accountable in the next council elections, but unfortunately this won’t refund the pots of public cash that that have been frittered without care by this disaster-prone council.