My letter to the (now permanent) Chief Executive
Dear Chief Executive
First, may I thank you, as the Acting Returning Officer for the recent by-election, for the work of the Elections Staff, not least Lesley Hales. Apart from one or two isolated problems caused by non-registration of electors, the election appeared to run smoothly and efficiently.
I was also grateful for the decision to hire a larger portakabin for use as a polling station at the New Brighton Rugby Club. This was greatly appreciated on what was a particularly cold day.
As you may be aware, the possible purchase of 66 iPads for councillors was also an issue during the by-election and around 500 electors have signed petition cards against what I also consider to be a waste of public funds. I shall submit those cards to the Mayor at the next council meeting.
In so far as my position as councillor, I would advise that I do not wish to receive any of the following benefits and ‘perks’ that are given to some or all councillors:
1. An iPad, laptop, or PC; computer desk and chair
2. Mobile phone, additional landline and rental or fax machine
3. Reimbursement of travel expenses, claims for mileage allowances during my work as a councillor or travel tickets booked via the Town Hall
4. ’Free’ parking pass for use in some council car parks
5. The use of ‘Member Services’ for the administration of my council duties such as stationery and postage
6. Overnight accommodation costs, attendance at conferences or tickets to awards ceremonies that I cannot otherwise pay for myself
7. Tickets or other hospitality offered to councillors or senior officers by Tranmere Rovers Football Club
8. Registration as a ‘data controller’ with the Information Commissioner’s Office. I shall register myself and pay the fee myself.
9. Post sent to the Town Hall will be collected by me; I do not wish Wirral’s Community Patrol to spend time on a Friday delivering my mail to my home
I realise this appears to be a ‘shopping list’ but I believe that councillors should be leading by example and, while I appreciate it will not plug the gap in the Council’s budget, nor will I add to it.
On the night of the election, I was given a letter by the Acting Head of Law inviting me to meet the Council’s Member Development and Training Team to discuss my training ‘needs’; a one to one meeting to discuss my ‘Personal Development Plan’; details of the Council’s Induction Programme; opportunities through something called the ‘Skills for Wirral Councillors Programme’ and last, but not least, a Code of Conduct training session.
Due to the financial difficulties the Council finds itself in, I shall only attend what is a legal requirement.
Finally, I would like the opportunity to have on-to-one meetings with the Authority’s directors responsible for services in Leasowe & Moreton East, namely:
• schools and Sure Start children’s centres
• roads, pavements, street lighting and road safety
• parks, children’s play areas, open spaces and grass verges
• waste collection, litter and bins
• adult day centres and pensioner lunch clubs
• services to support residents with fuel costs and home energy efficiency
• benefits including Council Tax Benefit and Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance
Would it be possible for you to either advise me of their names and contact details or ask their secretaries/PAs to contact me on 07886 133571 or firstname.lastname@example.org? I believe that email address will be operational later this week.
With best wishes and I look forward to working with you.
Conservative Councillor for Leasowe & Moreton East
UPDATE: the Wirral Globe has picked up on my letter here - judging by the faces on some of the Labour councillors on Monday, I doubt if anything I do will be ‘warmly welcomed’ however