Cllr Monk, Cllr Hollingsbee & the Chief Executive of Shepway District Council have been enjoying themselves at the Local Government Association Conference in Birmingham 4 – 6 July at a cost of £545 per LGA Member plus VAT.
All of them were in attendance for the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities & Local Government Sajid Javid’s conference speech on the 4th July 2017, where he stated:
“The ties that bind our local government to local communities have not snapped, but if we don’t act now, such a time may one day be upon us. Councils would not be able to rebuild and reinforce the trust with local communities if they hid away from public Scrutiny. If people are going to trust their elected representatives, they have to see them working in the harsh light of the public eye, not in comforting shadows behind closed doors. Not only must democracy exist, it must be seen to exist. It can’t be about decision made in private meeting rooms… local government must show it is for the people – not just of the people.”
We truly hope that Cllrs Monk & Hollingsbee and the Chief Executive, Mr Stewart have taken on board the Secretary of State’s words and remember that when it comes to meetings about Princes Parade, Otterpool Park and any other matter, the harsh light of the public eye will be able to gaze upon these and other meetings.
To demonstrate that democracy exists and comes at a price, we have prepared all SDC Cllrs expenses for the financial year 16/17, and yes as the Leader of the Council, Cllr Monk comes out on top, having earned, for all those meetings behind closed doors, the sum of £30,254. Cllr Hollingsbee comes in at 3rd place behind Cllr Rory Love having earned £20,554. Cllr Monk earns more per year than many nurses.
In 15/16 Cllrs received £324,000 and the breakdown for that year was £312,000 for allowances and £12,000 for expenses. In 16/17 the breakdown of the £325,000, is £309,000 for allowances and £16,000 for expenses. Cllr Carol Sacre (UKIP) (pictured) is in last place having claimed only £5,100, as is made clear by the chart below.
Oportunitas Limited has four Directors, all of whom are SDC Cllrs. For being a director they are remunerated. Cllr Dick Pascoe received £6,714 for 16/17 as the lead director. All other directors received £1,628 for their work as junior directors.
What with the Secretary of State Sajid Javid (pictured) words ringing in Cllr Monk’s, Hollingsbee’s ears, we leave you to determine whether or not our Cllr’s behaviour will change. We hope the light of the public gaze will be allowed to visit many more meetings and that the days of hiding away behind closed doors is truly over – only time will tell.
Finally, we’ll leave you to decide whether or not your Cllr in your wards are value for money.
The Shepwayvox Team