Labour councillors reject Green Party proposal to reduce Mayor of Liverpool’s Allowance by £89,000 over a 4 year period
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Video of Liverpool City Council’s Annual Meeting held on the 25th May 2016 at Liverpool Town Hall (Part 2 of 2) Agenda items 4 to 17 | Agenda item 11 (Scheme of Members Allowances) 2016/17 starts at 6 minutes 33 seconds
At the second meeting of Liverpool City Council after the May elections, councillors (and the Mayor of Liverpool) met to decide on how much they’d be paid for the 2016/17 year.
The report from the Independent Remuneration Panel also included the Members Allowances Scheme for 2015/16 for reference. There was also a separate report to be considered affecting councillors (and the elected Mayor) on the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel.
The report made the following recommendations (which I am summarising below):
2) That no changes be made to the Special Responsibility Allowances and that this be the same in 2016/17 as it was in 2015/16 and
3) That the report from the Independent Remuneration Panel about councillors (and the elected Mayor of Liverpool) on the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel be noted.
This is a transcript of what was said during that agenda item.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Roz Gladden: OK, agenda item 11.
Cllr Alan Dean (Labour), Chair of the Constitutional Issues Committee: Thank you Lord Mayor.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Roz Gladden: Alan.
Cllr Alan Dean (Labour), Chair of the Constitutional Issues Committee: I think you’ll have to check item 9 and 10, there must be something in there you don’t like!
Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Roz Gladden: No.
Cllr Alan Dean (Labour), Chair of the Constitutional Issues Committee: On item 11, Lord Mayor I’ll just move with the caveat to remind Members this is the ninth year that the Panel has recommended an increase to us, it’s nine years since we’ve taken an increase, in fact we’ve had a reduction in the recent past. But we need to be mindful that this can and will not continue.
At some stage, the Council will accept the recommendation of the Panel, but again for the ninth year we’re not doing that and can I just point out for the officers on page 181 of the report before Members by Halton Borough Council. They say that the Chief Fire Officer is appointed by this body, it isn’t! They appoint their own. So if we can correct that and advice Halton of their mistake.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Roz Gladden: OK, alright, is that.. errm, now we’ve we got an amendment for this item? Councillor Crone on this item?
Councillor Thomas Crone (Leader of the Green Party Group): Thank you Lord Mayor.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Roz Gladden: Seconded?
Cllr Sarah Jennings (Green Party): (raises her hand)
Councillor Thomas Crone (Leader of the Green Party Group): Thank you, yes it’s a very straightforward amendment. We are proposing to reduce the [elected] Mayoral Allowance from £79,500 to fifty-seven thousand
five hundred two hundred and fifty pounds.
That represents a saving to the Council of £22,250 per a year which would over a four year Mayoral term represent a saving to the Council of £89,000. This is roughly equal in quantity to the amount alluded to pay the Mayor’s legal bills…
Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Roz Gladden: No, I’m sorry, I’m sorry Councillor Crone..
Councillor Thomas Crone (Leader of the Green Party Group): This is just the rationale.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Roz Gladden: The legal, the legal advice, the point is this amendment can now relate to role of the [elected] Mayor, not Mayor Anderson himself and I think that’s the legal advice that’s already been received. So you cannot allude to that! You’re moving an amendment on that allowance,
Councillor Thomas Crone (Leader of the Green Party Group): So that’s the amendment to reduce it?
Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Roz Gladden: not on the rationale that you believe is behind it.
Councillor Thomas Crone (Leader of the Green Party Group): OK, thank you Lord Mayor, that’s it then.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Roz Gladden: Any other speakers?
Cllr Alan Dean (Labour), Chair of the Constitutional Issues Committee: Lord Mayor obviously we’ll oppose that, we’ve had this issue raised consistently by the Opposition after the last God knows how long.
We’ve had full and frank explanations from the Chief Officers responsible for this decision. It’s not something that we take lightly, but there’s obviously no way that we’d support this amendment. In our opinion it’s a nonsensical amendment.
It’s something that some political parties based most of their campaign on at the elections and we saw what happened! The Mayor’s still sitting here!
So, obviously we’re opposing it!
Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Roz Gladden: No, I’m going to move to the vote now. Yep, sorry, I’ve moved to the vote. I’ve moved on. Alright, alright, sorry, Councillor Kemp?
Councillor Richard Kemp, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group: I shall just be brief Lord Mayor and explain why we’re not supporting this amendment.
Err, the all the allowances in this document have been agreed by an Independent Panel who’ve judged their worth.
Err, we believe that you often get democracy on the cheap and that it should be open to everybody, every councillor or in this case the [elected] Mayor it’s slightly different, to take that which they’re entitled to with that Independent Review. Whether individual councillors or individual mayors take all of that is up to their personal circumstances.
If I was a millionaire, I probably wouldn’t take anything but I’m not! So I take something. We have to leave it to the discretion of the individual to take what they think is right, up to the allowance which is allowed by the Independent Panel.
So on that basis we will not support the amendment.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Roz Gladden: Thank you Councillor Kemp. OK, can we move to take the vote now please? OK, in favour of the amendment? Against the amendment? OK, can we take sorry. Any abstentions? Two. OK, for the amendment was four, against the amendment seventy-seven and there is abstentions two. The vote on the amendment is lost.
Could we take a vote on the substantive motion? Sorry?
Councillor Steve Radford, Leader of the Liberal Group: Can I just comment?
I understand [Councillor] Richard err Kemp’s point of view that he put to Council that we should support the Scheme and over the years I’ve always thought errm that for the amount of additional work err that chairing committees have to do, having done that err that the amount of payment is higher than it needs to be.
But I also think that the work of ward councillors is undervalued, so I will not err be voting on the Scheme of Allowances and I just wanted to explain why. I don’t think that’s a disparaging to anybody or any particular role, it’s a view I’ve held strongly for some time, it’s a view I’ve shared to the Panel.
Errm, so I don’t feel I can have that view and honestly support the Scheme, but I don’t see how that disparages any part of the Scheme or anything. I don’t think the Panel has struck the right balance in my view and it forces me to express that view and I’ve spoken on it.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Roz Gladden: OK, thank you Councillor Radford, I’m now going to move, Alan Dean?
Cllr Alan Dean (Labour), Chair of the Constitutional Issues Committee: Thank you Lord Mayor, can I just comment on that?
I mean we specifically asked the Panel to speak to some of the councillors in positions on opposition benches, to make sure they passed the test err I think in terms of the allowances that they received and we’ve come back and said yeah basically it is, it is correct, it does fit the bill.
So I understand what he’s saying, we had some concerns, err but it’s been tested and they’ve come back and said I don’t know about theirs, but I might struggle with that.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Roz Gladden: Now we’re going to move and take the vote on this and vote on the substantive [motion]. So, those against the motion, sorry you want to do in favour of that? (laughs) In favour of the motion? That’s it. Those against? Abstentions, two. For eighty-one, against zero, abstentions two, so the substantive motion is carried.
Commenting on what happened at the meeting, the campaigner Audrey O’Caoimh, who had made the original Freedom of Information request that led to the information about the Mayor’s legal bill being revealed stated,
Mayor Anderson was claiming £4,500 [a year] from Chesterfield High School with no input to the school. While we have people using food banks [and there were] cuts to adult social care [at Liverpool City Council], Mayor Anderson used public money to pay private legal fees.
[Employment] Judge Daniel Sekota QC described the Mayor’s continued employment at Chesterfield [High School] as, a “reverse form for a zero hours contract, whereby the Respondent [Chesterfield High School] was bound to make payment of salary but Claimant [Mayor Anderson] was not bound to provide any services.”
Anderson’s appeal to the Employment Tribunal …. never should have been paid for by the public purse.”
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