The Leader of the Conservative Group, Cllr. Ian Lewis, writes in this week's Wirral Globe
What kind of Council do you want?
It sounds obvious, but too often local councils don’t ask the people they are supposed to serve. Or if they ask, they don’t actually listen.
In the olden days, long before I was around, councils were smaller, serving easily recognised communities and run by councillors who were not wannabe politicians.
These councils employed a Town Clerk, not a Chief Executive, and quietly just got on with the job.
How times change.
Now, the costs of senior directors are £300,000 a year higher in Wirral than when ‘austerity’ began.
We have a Chief Executive paid more than the Prime Minister.
Strategic Directors supported by an army of consultants reproducing faster than turbocharged rabbits on Viagra.
The (Labour) Leader of the Council seems to believe everything he is told.
He is so busy outsourcing, privatising and transferring assets (YOUR assets, by the way), that democratic control and accountability has, in many cases, been shoved aside.
We can only hope, for our own sakes, that he never receives an email from Yuliana in the Ukraine offering him marriage or a ‘friend’ in Nigeria promising him millions in exchange for the Council’s bank details.
My eyes glaze over as we listen to Labour politicians and their consultants talk about ‘transformation’, ‘stakeholders’, ‘a journey’ and ‘empowerment’, while promoting themselves in their £270,000 a year newspaper.
This guff and management waffle is wearing thin. Just deliver the services you are paid to provide.
Wirral Council is an £800 million a year outfit, including grants of £250 million from the Government and elsewhere.
We are a council with cash reserves of approaching £100 million, including £12 million that is not allocated for any specific project.
The reserves are so healthy that Wirral Councils lends money to other councils – most recently £5 million to a council in Essex.
What this council lacks is the kind of common sense, straightforward, jargon-free leadership that could, if given the chance, make Wirral a shining example of a council that just ‘gets things done’.
In the meantime, beware of any local politician who claims to have all the answers; who always blames others when things go wrong or who promises to ‘transform’ your council.
It’s a con.
Emptying your bins may not ‘transform’ your life, but it is what you are paying for.