Wiltshire Council slammed for setting Christmas Eve showdown meeting

This Is Wiltshire: Cllr Jeff Osborn Cllr Jeff Osborn

Wiltshire Council has been slammed for scheduling an extraordinary meeting to discuss the controversial members’ allowance increases for Christmas Eve.

The Independent Political Group contacted the council’s chairman, Wiltshire Councillor Christine Crisp, with the request.

The meeting is due to take place at County Hall, in Trowbridge, at 9.30am, on Tuesday when the venue was due to be closed and council staff were supposed to be on holiday.

Jeff Osborn, Wiltshire councillor from the Independent Political Group, said: “I must say that I am extremely surprised the council are saying that a decision has been made to call the meeting for Christmas Eve, especially as I understood that County Hall was officially closed on that day and staff will have to be brought in at considerable inconvenience.”

“At this time of year, the staff have got other things on their minds and I thought we would sit and have a sensible discussion and hold it on an appropriate date.”

The Independents believe that Wiltshire Council has been unconstitutional making the meeting public because they were yet to receive the five councillors’ signatures necessary to call an extraordinary meeting.

The group had looked to hold the meeting as they oppose Wiltshire Council’s decision, made during November’s full council meeting, which has seen Wiltshire Council leader Jane Scott’s allowances increase by 36.5 per cent a year, taking them from £37,335 to £52,227.

Cabinet members’ allowances have increased by at least 22 per cent, rising from £15,101 to £18,433 a year, while councillors’ basic allowances has gone up by one per cent to £12,289 a year.

Wiltshire Councillor Ernie Clark, Independent Political Group leader, said: “This was always something we were looking to hold in the new year and never to the detriment of council staff who’d been given a holiday and may have made arrangements.”

The group still want the meeting to be held but on a different date in the new year. Under their constitution, for Wiltshire Council to overturn a decision made within the last six months and have it debated during an extraordinary meeting at least 10 councillors’ signatures are needed.

The allowance increase was proposed by the council’s Independent Remuneration Panel and was accepted following a recorded vote at the November meeting. A total of 53 councillors voted for the proposals, 28 were against and two abstained.

Last week, Cllr Scott finally agreed to be interviewed about the allowance increase after refusing to answer questions on the subject for over a month.

“We are working in a more efficient way, but that does put an awful lot of pressure on all of us, both members and officers in the organisation, to deliver,” she said.

“They (the remuneration panel) wanted to make it right, not for me, but for the people who come after me.”

During the summer, the council ran a voluntary redundancy programme in which 252 front-line staff decided to leave the organisation.

While, seven of the council's 18 associate directors took voluntary redundancy, while the remaining associate directors saw their wages rise on average by 7.5 per cent.

After the council agreed to the allowance increase outraged tax payer Paul Gaunt set-up a petition calling for Cllr Scott and her cabinet to resign. This has received over 2,500 signatures.

The allowance increase has also been slammed by Brandon Lewis, minister for local Government, who said they weren’t justified in the current economic climate.

To view the petition visit www.wehavesolutions.co.uk.

Comments (16)

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11:29am Tue 17 Dec 13

sphere123 says...

What a surprise, or is this tactical given that Jane Sott and her empire have agreed to give the staff an extra day off (by the way thanks). Having signed the 38 degree pettion I have met and told alot of local people about who are still in shock when you tell them about the large hike in allowances. Jane Scott was once quoted as saying at a staff forum "we have to make changes due to the austerity measures...we are all in this together" NO WE ARE NOT JANE!
Enjoy your farm this Christmas and by he sounds of your blog your charmed life!
But please consider those workers on the minimum wage working really hard to have a basic standard of living. Please spare a thought for the hidden poor rather than those on welfare who have the housing benefit, tax credits and disability benefits. Spare a thought for the workers and not the rich tories which Jane and her party seem not to represent.
Politicians DONT TRUST THE BUGGERS!
What a surprise, or is this tactical given that Jane Sott and her empire have agreed to give the staff an extra day off (by the way thanks). Having signed the 38 degree pettion I have met and told alot of local people about who are still in shock when you tell them about the large hike in allowances. Jane Scott was once quoted as saying at a staff forum "we have to make changes due to the austerity measures...we are all in this together" NO WE ARE NOT JANE! Enjoy your farm this Christmas and by he sounds of your blog your charmed life! But please consider those workers on the minimum wage working really hard to have a basic standard of living. Please spare a thought for the hidden poor rather than those on welfare who have the housing benefit, tax credits and disability benefits. Spare a thought for the workers and not the rich tories which Jane and her party seem not to represent. Politicians DONT TRUST THE BUGGERS! sphere123

3:00pm Tue 17 Dec 13

Blanche Terraine says...

You would not find three wise men in the Independent Group. Stitched up like turkeys.
You would not find three wise men in the Independent Group. Stitched up like turkeys. Blanche Terraine

3:16pm Tue 17 Dec 13

brasstacks says...

Perhaps crafty Ms Scott has called the Meeting because she already knows which Councillors won't be able to attend ?

Is the Meeting going to be open to the Public ?

If it is an Open Meeting, please come to County Hall next Tuesday and show your Support for ALL the People of Wiltshire and the Staff both present and past at Wilts Council !!

Please also spare a thought for the Disabled People of Wiltshire on Benefits because they are too ill to work but who still have a voice and a Right to the Services that Ms Scott & her Political Senior Crew cannot afford to provide 'cause they have spent out on themselves ?

The "glorified greenhouse" at County Hall typically examples how Tax Payers money is wasted by Ms Scott.

The people of Wiltshire and the front line Staff at the Council are sick to death of Ms Scott's deliberate Political crusade and, if she cannot go into work and work purely for the People, then she should not bother to go to work at all.

Our County needs and deserves transparency, honesty and fairness for all Residents.

Ms Scott, your only "moral duty" is to the Tax Payers and to provide them with the Services that you are hell bent on cutting..

You cannot possible have any morals if you give yourself the Pay Rise you did ?

You should be doing the Job for us and NOT for your Political Party and given how much Tax Payers money you have wasted in your "reign", you should Resign now..

I doubt that you will go hungry this Christmas and I am sure you can find a hobby or two to keep you from getting bored when you take the only Human thing to do - Resign please ?
Perhaps crafty Ms Scott has called the Meeting because she already knows which Councillors won't be able to attend ? Is the Meeting going to be open to the Public ? If it is an Open Meeting, please come to County Hall next Tuesday and show your Support for ALL the People of Wiltshire and the Staff both present and past at Wilts Council !! Please also spare a thought for the Disabled People of Wiltshire on Benefits because they are too ill to work but who still have a voice and a Right to the Services that Ms Scott & her Political Senior Crew cannot afford to provide 'cause they have spent out on themselves ? The "glorified greenhouse" at County Hall typically examples how Tax Payers money is wasted by Ms Scott. The people of Wiltshire and the front line Staff at the Council are sick to death of Ms Scott's deliberate Political crusade and, if she cannot go into work and work purely for the People, then she should not bother to go to work at all. Our County needs and deserves transparency, honesty and fairness for all Residents. Ms Scott, your only "moral duty" is to the Tax Payers and to provide them with the Services that you are hell bent on cutting.. You cannot possible have any morals if you give yourself the Pay Rise you did ? You should be doing the Job for us and NOT for your Political Party and given how much Tax Payers money you have wasted in your "reign", you should Resign now.. I doubt that you will go hungry this Christmas and I am sure you can find a hobby or two to keep you from getting bored when you take the only Human thing to do - Resign please ? brasstacks

5:47pm Tue 17 Dec 13

corshman says...

First things first, is councillor Scott going to give her massive allowance increase to charity. After all it's not for her but for those who will follow in her greedy footsteps. Remember councillor Scott these are your allowances not your salary, and to hold the meeting on Christmas Eve smacks of burying bad news a favoured Tory policy. Will she do the decent thing and refuse the increase no chance.
First things first, is councillor Scott going to give her massive allowance increase to charity. After all it's not for her but for those who will follow in her greedy footsteps. Remember councillor Scott these are your allowances not your salary, and to hold the meeting on Christmas Eve smacks of burying bad news a favoured Tory policy. Will she do the decent thing and refuse the increase no chance. corshman

6:05pm Tue 17 Dec 13

tobruk says...

The cynicism of MsScott and her cohorts beggars belief. The people should march on County Hall and drive the greedy pigs out!! Let the people run the WCC. Well done Geoff Osborne and the other independents. I know who I am voting for at the next election and it won't be for any of the three main stream parties!! We need a County Council run by independents who have the needs of the people at heart and have NO political agenda.
The cynicism of MsScott and her cohorts beggars belief. The people should march on County Hall and drive the greedy pigs out!! Let the people run the WCC. Well done Geoff Osborne and the other independents. I know who I am voting for at the next election and it won't be for any of the three main stream parties!! We need a County Council run by independents who have the needs of the people at heart and have NO political agenda. tobruk

6:38pm Tue 17 Dec 13

Blanche Terraine says...

Calling an extraordinary meeting of the full council costs a good deal of money. The Independents need not have incurred this additional and unnecessary expense, because the matter will be discussed again in the new year anyway. Just as Mrs Scott and her Cabinet have added to council costs, so also have the Osbornes, Ernie Clark, et al. Not clever, just vain and foolish.
Calling an extraordinary meeting of the full council costs a good deal of money. The Independents need not have incurred this additional and unnecessary expense, because the matter will be discussed again in the new year anyway. Just as Mrs Scott and her Cabinet have added to council costs, so also have the Osbornes, Ernie Clark, et al. Not clever, just vain and foolish. Blanche Terraine

8:07pm Tue 17 Dec 13

Room101 says...

Just read news about binmen losing jobs. These people who voted for a pay rise on council are a disgrace. Hope they have a good Christmas with there payrise.The binmen will be having a great one not knowing if they have a job.
Just read news about binmen losing jobs. These people who voted for a pay rise on council are a disgrace. Hope they have a good Christmas with there payrise.The binmen will be having a great one not knowing if they have a job. Room101

9:49pm Tue 17 Dec 13

Perestroika says...

Don`t forget that Lady Jane also carried inspections for Ofsted on other authorities (a remunerated position I believe) whilst Ofsted were failing her own authority.

You couldn`t make it could you

Perestroika
Don`t forget that Lady Jane also carried inspections for Ofsted on other authorities (a remunerated position I believe) whilst Ofsted were failing her own authority. You couldn`t make it could you Perestroika Perestroika

2:20am Wed 18 Dec 13

beetawix says...

Blanche Terraine wrote:
Calling an extraordinary meeting of the full council costs a good deal of money. The Independents need not have incurred this additional and unnecessary expense, because the matter will be discussed again in the new year anyway. Just as Mrs Scott and her Cabinet have added to council costs, so also have the Osbornes, Ernie Clark, et al. Not clever, just vain and foolish.
Blanche Terraine informs us that.........calling an extraordinary meeting of the full council costs a good deal of money.

How much is a good deal of money?
Who receives this good deal of money and for doing what?
[quote][p][bold]Blanche Terraine[/bold] wrote: Calling an extraordinary meeting of the full council costs a good deal of money. The Independents need not have incurred this additional and unnecessary expense, because the matter will be discussed again in the new year anyway. Just as Mrs Scott and her Cabinet have added to council costs, so also have the Osbornes, Ernie Clark, et al. Not clever, just vain and foolish.[/p][/quote]Blanche Terraine informs us that.........calling an extraordinary meeting of the full council costs a good deal of money. How much is a good deal of money? Who receives this good deal of money and for doing what? beetawix

8:35am Wed 18 Dec 13

Man of Wiltshire says...

Why is no one talking about the £26.000 that Councillor John Hubbard is recieving for doing nothing
Why is no one talking about the £26.000 that Councillor John Hubbard is recieving for doing nothing Man of Wiltshire

10:31am Wed 18 Dec 13

brandx says...

To me the calling of the Extraordinay meeting by the Tory Chairman of the Council on Chrismas Eve was an attempted "clever" ploy of the Tories, but it does not seem to have worked. There will now be no Christmas Eve meeting. The date now will be 4th February when the petition will also be presented.
This gives the angry public ample time to organise.

In these times of austerity and Pay Day Loan Christmas there can be no justification for any increase in allowance. Rather they should take a cut.
To me the calling of the Extraordinay meeting by the Tory Chairman of the Council on Chrismas Eve was an attempted "clever" ploy of the Tories, but it does not seem to have worked. There will now be no Christmas Eve meeting. The date now will be 4th February when the petition will also be presented. This gives the angry public ample time to organise. In these times of austerity and Pay Day Loan Christmas there can be no justification for any increase in allowance. Rather they should take a cut. brandx

11:32am Wed 18 Dec 13

the optimist says...

Man of Wiltshire wrote:
Why is no one talking about the £26.000 that Councillor John Hubbard is recieving for doing nothing
Why are we not allowed to comment on his article, also of the morning in the WT, where he is trying to elbow in on the good job the independent's are doing on this crazy allowance rise.

Is he frightened of hearing the truth or is WT worried about the language that might be used?
[quote][p][bold]Man of Wiltshire[/bold] wrote: Why is no one talking about the £26.000 that Councillor John Hubbard is recieving for doing nothing[/p][/quote]Why are we not allowed to comment on his article, also of the morning in the WT, where he is trying to elbow in on the good job the independent's are doing on this crazy allowance rise. Is he frightened of hearing the truth or is WT worried about the language that might be used? the optimist

5:07pm Wed 18 Dec 13

daryl1957 says...

I'm really struggling to keep up payments on my council tax arrears.....and this bunch of criminals are laughing REALLY loud..........howeve
r....what goes round, comes round.....
I'm really struggling to keep up payments on my council tax arrears.....and this bunch of criminals are laughing REALLY loud..........howeve r....what goes round, comes round..... daryl1957

5:17pm Wed 18 Dec 13

brasstacks says...

To cut the Bin Men's Jobs is awful and...the ONLY thing that needs to be "recycled" in Wiltshire is Ms Scott and her Political Crew..

I wonder if Ms Scott is intending to roll up her sleeves and take on collecting the Rubbish that will mount up ??

Jon Hubbard needs to be respectfully reminded that we do NOT want Councillors who run down other Councillors who at least have the "wobbly bits" to speak out and challenge like the Independents have !!??

ALL Councillors are expected to serve their Community FIRST and all that Cllr Hubbard had to do was to work WITH the Independents instead of running them down unfairly ?

It does not matter WHO challenges Ms Scott as long as they do it for the People and not for the Politics that has broken our County into what can only be describes as Conservative caused CHAOS..

Ms Scott, the People have challenged you now and will continue to do so until you Formally Provide answers and explanations as to why you perceive that we matter less than your ego and personal purse ?

The true Community Hero's are those who work with unconditional and un selfish dilligence for their County, it's Residents and the front line Staff who do their best to help us all.

I wonder just how much extra Legal Advice Ms Scott has been taking just lately and I truly hope that we do NOT see this show up on Wilts Council disclosed Expenses for November and December 2013 ?..

Once again, just what and who at Wilts Council spends so much on at "Argos" every month and...why are there so many "redacted payments" to Argos Published ?

Please Sign the "38 degrees Petition" everyone and remember....we have a Right to ask questions of our Council and...

They have a MORAL and Fiscal Right to answer them..
To cut the Bin Men's Jobs is awful and...the ONLY thing that needs to be "recycled" in Wiltshire is Ms Scott and her Political Crew.. I wonder if Ms Scott is intending to roll up her sleeves and take on collecting the Rubbish that will mount up ?? Jon Hubbard needs to be respectfully reminded that we do NOT want Councillors who run down other Councillors who at least have the "wobbly bits" to speak out and challenge like the Independents have !!?? ALL Councillors are expected to serve their Community FIRST and all that Cllr Hubbard had to do was to work WITH the Independents instead of running them down unfairly ? It does not matter WHO challenges Ms Scott as long as they do it for the People and not for the Politics that has broken our County into what can only be describes as Conservative caused CHAOS.. Ms Scott, the People have challenged you now and will continue to do so until you Formally Provide answers and explanations as to why you perceive that we matter less than your ego and personal purse ? The true Community Hero's are those who work with unconditional and un selfish dilligence for their County, it's Residents and the front line Staff who do their best to help us all. I wonder just how much extra Legal Advice Ms Scott has been taking just lately and I truly hope that we do NOT see this show up on Wilts Council disclosed Expenses for November and December 2013 ?.. Once again, just what and who at Wilts Council spends so much on at "Argos" every month and...why are there so many "redacted payments" to Argos Published ? Please Sign the "38 degrees Petition" everyone and remember....we have a Right to ask questions of our Council and... They have a MORAL and Fiscal Right to answer them.. brasstacks

2:09pm Thu 19 Dec 13

OfficialSpudUk says...

This part confused me - "The Independents believe that Wiltshire Council has been unconstitutional making the meeting public." Does that mean the Independents don't want the meeting public?

I have to agree that its a shame that the Lib Dems aren't mounting much of an opposition, nor are the Conservatives who oppose Jane. There are some good ones out there!

And to those calling for more Independent Councillors, keep in mind that it costs a not so insignificant amount of money to stand, even at Council level, which would rule out a lot of good candidates who rely on the financial support offered by parties. You'd end up with a lot of independently wealthy older Councillors who remained political, just didn't wear the badge. It wouldn't be much different to now. Financing would need to be available for "normal" people to be able to stand as independents.
This part confused me - "The Independents believe that Wiltshire Council has been unconstitutional making the meeting public." Does that mean the Independents don't want the meeting public? I have to agree that its a shame that the Lib Dems aren't mounting much of an opposition, nor are the Conservatives who oppose Jane. There are some good ones out there! And to those calling for more Independent Councillors, keep in mind that it costs a not so insignificant amount of money to stand, even at Council level, which would rule out a lot of good candidates who rely on the financial support offered by parties. You'd end up with a lot of independently wealthy older Councillors who remained political, just didn't wear the badge. It wouldn't be much different to now. Financing would need to be available for "normal" people to be able to stand as independents. OfficialSpudUk

2:56pm Mon 23 Dec 13

brandx says...

Wiltshire Council will be sacking bin men in the New Year and the Councillors who have just made this decision have had massive increases in their own allowances back dated to last May. Is this the Council we want?

Now the date for the meeting to scrap the increases in all councillor allowances and to present the petition has been sert for 4th February, all good people of Wiltshire should ensure that they sign the petition.

Let us hope that the opposition parties - Labour, Lib Dems and Independents - can work together for the greater good of the ordinary people and not the fat cats. We know which party looks after them. Enough pressure from the public may make some Tory councillors show some humanity. A couple have already do so. Work on the others and isolate the Leader and her Cabinet..
Wiltshire Council will be sacking bin men in the New Year and the Councillors who have just made this decision have had massive increases in their own allowances back dated to last May. Is this the Council we want? Now the date for the meeting to scrap the increases in all councillor allowances and to present the petition has been sert for 4th February, all good people of Wiltshire should ensure that they sign the petition. Let us hope that the opposition parties - Labour, Lib Dems and Independents - can work together for the greater good of the ordinary people and not the fat cats. We know which party looks after them. Enough pressure from the public may make some Tory councillors show some humanity. A couple have already do so. Work on the others and isolate the Leader and her Cabinet.. brandx

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