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VOLUNTEERS WANTED: £28Kpa..

Opinion: from Launceston Lib Dem Cllr Alex Folkes

Cornwall Council’s Conservative Leader says that the members of the authority’s Cabinet should be thought of as volunteers….

He believes they should not be subject to any formal expectation of how often they need turn up to work – despite each taking home more than £28,000 of taxpayers’ money.

I wrote to the Leader back in August after I received complaints from a member of the public and a voluntary sector organisation about a particular cabinet member being absent for the whole summer.

I asked Cllr Robertson if he could tell me what expectations are placed on cabinet members for their work hours and how much holiday was allowed per year.

I also asked him to tell me how much holiday each cabinet member had taken over the last two years.

In his reply, Cllr Robertson said:

“Councillors are essentially “volunteers” who receive allowances to compensate them for the time committed and the responsibilities they undertake.”

It is certainly true that legally councillors are not employees in the normal sense.

But when cabinet members each receive £28,828.91 from the public purse (and the Leader receives £34,660.93), surely we should be setting some sort of expectation on them in terms of the hours or days that they work.

The public would certainly expect some sort of monitoring of how their money is being spent.

I used to work for Southwark Council which was, at the time, a joint Lib Dem/Conservative administration.

Each of the executive members there had an expectation of full time council work and they booked holiday time like normal employees.

It was not forbidden for them to have other jobs, but if they did they received proportionately less in terms of allowances.

Cllr Robertson said he thought it would be ‘inappropriate’ to have such a scheme in Cornwall.

If it is felt appropriate in Southwark (and other authorities around the country) to ensure taxpayers’ money is spent wisely, why is it not here?

Just to avoid misunderstandings, I do believe that the Council’s Cabinet members should be paid a special responsibility allowance and we have an independent remuneration panel which decides on the correct level.

The change I want to see is for cabinet roles to be seen in practice (if not legally) as a full time job with expectations of working hours and holiday allowances



Posted by on September 5, 2011. Filed under A LANSON BOY. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Responses to VOLUNTEERS WANTED: £28Kpa..

  1. admin

    September 5, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    via Facebook from Beau Jeste: “Why should the Secret Handshake Brigade be compelled to turn up if their leader says they don’t have to?
    ‘That’s not the way we do things down ‘ere..’
    ‘You’re not from round ‘ere are ee Bey?’”

    via Facebook from Dave Antram: “ell if they are volunteers they shouldnt be getting paid as it is… volunteer!! this is the key word here!” Thus will save cornwall lots of needed cash for parks and school activities.”

  2. admin

    September 5, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Tony Lea posted I,m a volunteer for charity, can I be paid 28 k please.
    8 hours ago

    Adam Collier said ‘Councillors are exactly the same as MPs, greedy, lazy , self important assholes. We have some real stinkers in Cornwall too, they never get anything done, Hayle harbour is a fine example of this, I have lost count of the amount of times not…hing has happened due to the fact the council were “unable to come to a decision” , they should of said “unable to do my job” ,we need to clear all of them out and get some real people there that DO see it as a job and not something they do out of kindness.

    Phil Trude added I agree with the above i work full time and dont earn that ????

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