Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Alec Robertson - the councillor with no shame

Today at full council I voted against a rise in allowances. By my calculation that is the seventh or eighth time I have done so during my (almost) four years as a Cornwall councillor.

And, yet again, the reason for this vote was a motion in the name of former Council Leader Alec Robertson. But this time (for the first time), Cllr Robertson was advocating a freeze in allowances rather than a rise.

Back in October, the council debated a report of the independent remuneration panel which recommended a rise to more than £16,000 a year. I voted against that and against the eventual recommendation of £14,600 per year. I lost the latter vote despite thinking that it is wrong to ask taxpayers to fork out more at this difficult economic time. I respect, but disagree, with people who hold different views.

A number of councillors were absent from that debate. One of those was Cllr Robertson. He disagreed with the result - as did I. But as he had not bothered to show up, I would have assumed that he would accept democracy and live with it.

But apparently Cllr Robertson was outraged at the result.

Obviously not outraged enough to have bothered to turn up to the meeting in the first place.

Nor so outraged as to have tried to do something about it at the next meeting in December.

Or either of the two meetings in January.


Cllr Robertson waited until the meeting today to express his outrage and try to overturn the result of that vote. It is certainly not entirely coincidental that the election is now 78 days away.

We should remember that Cllr Robertson, when he was leader, tried three times to increase allowances.

And that he is the highest paid councillor in Cornwall ever having taken at least £147,000 from taxpayers over the last three years and nine months.

And that he chose to give £50,000 of Cornish taxpayers' money to try to bring the World Cup to Plymouth.

And that, under his regime, tea and coffee was ferried between offices by taxi.

And that his colleague, Cllr Ferguson, sat on a recommendation that would have brought £300,000  extra income to the council after 14 months of work by officers and councillors because she was the only person who didn't agree with it. (£300k being the same amount as the increase in allowances would cost).

And that millions was spent on the failed support services / privatisation venture that he championed.

No. With the election just 78 days away, Cllr Robertson emerges from hibernation and decides that he wants to overturn a decision of the council taken with full knowledge of the facts because the election is imminent and he clearly hopes that this move will make Cornish resident forget the disastrous regime he led until he was deposed last autumn.

Truly, the man has no shame.

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