Cllr. Mace's personal comments on the City Cabinet’s Budget proposals, based on his comments at Budget Council on 2 March 2011,
If we ask users of the Council's car parks to pay more for their use despite the knock on effect on the viability of commercial and social activities in the urban centre, and if through the mis-named "Wellbeing Fees and Charges", we ask users of the recreational facilities on offer by the City Council that we still own to pay more for their use, why do we not also ask the Dukes Theatre to increase its ticket prices, so that the subsidy can be reduced ?
The 2011 budget was a budget which divided our district. It continued to support urban residents at the expense of rural residents. It continued to support those who are providers of council services, rather than supporting those who use them. It has paid council officers not to work for the council rather than to work for the council - and in describing the salaries of departed employees as "savings", it has effectively insulted them by attaching zero value to the work that they did while the Council employed them, and has disguised in various ways the extent of the true cost to the district for the restructuring that has taken place.
I suspect most of us agree in our heart of hearts that public expenditure has recently (in the years preceding 2011) been at unsustainable levels and that reductions are necessary. In the interests of our District, it is the Council's job to ensure that cuts are as painless as possible. I was not satisfied in 2011 that this was being done.
The Council has wisely decided that the intention to protect the most vulnerable in our society should be a thread that runs through all the priorities in the City's policy framework. In doing so, we all need to remember that hidden taxes are no less painful to those that are affected by them than taxes that are disclosed.
Call in of Cabinet Decision of 4 August 2015 by 3 Conservative Councillors and two Green Councillors.
The current chief executive has announced his retirement after some 15 years in post.
Cabinet's decision on the Reorganisation of the Office of the Chief Executive was criticised on the basis that no prior discussion had taken place on the future of the role of Chief Executive: whether the Chief Executive should be replaced by a full time new Chief Executive, a part-time Chief Executive, a Chief Executive shared with another local authority or by a different arrangement altogether in which the roles of the current Chief Executive might be shared amongst the current Chief Officers.
Arrangements for the office of the Chief Executive are likely to be of relevance for longer than the four year lifetime of the current administration - and it was therefore argued that an opportunity should be made available for proposals to be considered more widely than by one political group alone. The purpose of this call-in was to ensure that this opportunity for wider consideration is provided - and to call the executive to account for their decision.
In particular, the decision between alternative ways of filling the pending vacancy for Chief Executive was argued to be a choice on one of the most important issues facing the Council in recent years: a decision which would be influenced by the expected reduction in the size and budget of the Council in the next few years and the need for a new CEO to have both relevant experience and local knowledge if the transition is to be effective.
This decision on the need for recruiting a replacement was argued to be a pre-requisite for deciding upon Reorganisation of the Office of the Chief Executive. The wording of the cabinet's resolution had implied that a replacement Chief Executive was to be recruited, when no discussion had taken place on the need to recruit a replacement Chief Executive - and no formal decision to recruit had been made.