Monday, 18 April 2011

Will the price of loyalty be £80k per year?

Much speculation on the continuing rifts within the ruling Conservative group on Cornwall Council. It is an open secret at County Hall that there are a number of Tory councillors who are very unhappy with the leader, his closeness with certain officers and the lack of communication with his wider group.

A couple of weeks ago there was talk of a letter demanding changes which had been signed by anything up to 22 Conservative councillors. A number of 'not at all' crisis meetings later and the situation doesn't look to have been resolved.

So at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday there is a paper proposing the creation of the new position of 'Cabinet Support Member' - ie councillors who will be part of the administration and be able to take some decisions but won't get to vote in full cabinet meetings.

The paper talks about the need to pay these members but doesn't talk about an amount. However the figure being speculated is £8,000 per year. If you assume that there will be one support member for each of the ten members of the Cabinet then the total bill looks like being £80,000 per year despite the stated intention of cutting the amount paid to members.

The idea of support members was floated in the past but has only been considered for real as a result of the dissent within the Conservative Group. So is £80,000 per year a reasonable price to pay for loyalty?

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