Sunday, 3 November 2013

My week ahead 4 - 10 November 2013

Monday - 4 November, 4pm – Culture and Leisure portfolio meeting, 6pm – Labour Group meeting

Wednesday – 6 November, 9am – Northgate Foundation Meeting
7pm – Art Show – Native American/ Lame Deer – Town Hall

Thursday 7 November, 10am –Meeting with Sport England

Sunday 10 October, 11am – Remembrance Service – Christchurch Park

As you can see above, there are plenty of meetings for myself to attend this week and it can be difficult to attend all functions whilst working full time and also finding time to spend with the family let alone find time for other activities outside politics. I am not moaning as I had an idea of what I was getting into but I mention it as whilst I was away the question about the number of councillors we have, when we have elections and even an elected Mayor came up for discussion.

For once I find myself agreeing with Tory Nadia Cenci, and I do not want to see a reduction in the number of councillors, that is not to mean I do not want to see change.

I would like to see Unitary and that then would see a reduction in the number of elected persons, but I can’t see that coming round for a while. But as money needs to be saved, it would mean more work but a reduction from 48 to 32 would be manageable but not one councillor per ward. I certainly would not be able to then continue as a councillor and work full time. We would just end up with only the rich or retired being able to become councillors.

Ipswich Spy then mentions that Los Angeles has just 15 councillors well then they must have no planning controls or licensing or if they do these tasks are carried out by un-elected officers or as i think is more likely, by elected representatives of districts within the city.

Currently I could not be a County Councillor as most of their meetings are during the day at least on the borough we have a number of evening meetings but the two most important (in the eyes of many) planning and licensing are held in the day so to help the public who need to attend these important sessions.

Ben Gummer our Tory MP, then congratulated the council on looking at the number of councillors and he favoured just one per ward but with councillors receiving more Officer help, not sure that would end up saving any money and would actually cost more, he has paid help and he still can’t get his website updated.

He was also keen on an elected Mayor – again to me it seems like more cost and would only work if it was combined with unitary status – unless of course he is looking for a future role for himself after May 2015!

The local Tory Group leader seemed to favour a reduction in councillors but also a move to elections every 4 years and not just annually, he stated that councillors could then concentrate on helping residents rather than spending all year campaigning – unless he can combine the General Election plus European, SCC, PCC and IBC elections, can’t see a reduction in time campaigning, well at least for us as it was obvious that the Tory Group did little to help Passmore in his bid to become PCC.

It does not mean I do not think there are possible occasions where the number of councillors could be reduced, in the districts where they have merged Officers it seems strange that they have kept two councils (all Tory) it could almost become impossible for the Chief Executive and the Officers to work effectively if the two councils they support were pulling in opposite directions.

So my preference for the future would be Unitary, followed if cuts need to be made a reduction to 32 councilors but continuing to have elections each year, I gather most of my case work from when I am out campaigning or after I have delivered a leaflet – elections only every 4 years could mean that certain groups would not bother doing anything till the final few months of the 4 year cycle.

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