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Taxpayer Funds ERYC Consevative Group Political Vendetta

January 11, 2015

Bridlington Councillor Richard Burton has added his name to a bizarre escalation of his Leader’s vendetta against the Police and Crime Commissioner . Cllr Burton is one of the Conservative Group Officers who have now jointly signed an accusation against the Conservative Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, and have started a media campaign against him. Details of the latest manoeuvres are too pathetic for comment, other than to show that the councillors involved to have completely lost the plot and should, before seeking re-election in May, consider whether they represent the people of the East Riding or just their own little private club. We include the correspondence and press coverage below for any readers interested. Who and what are the Group Officers? They have no status and simply administer the party political group within the Council. They have no authority to act independently of rest of the councillors in their Group, and can only speak on their behalf of, and as agreed by, them. If, as we are informed, the rest of the Conservative Councillors within the Group did not agree this action, then they have acted without authority and misrepresent the Ruling Group, and by implication, the Council. They do so to attack the public office of one of the Council’s partner organisations, for what are purely personal political reasons. This is a very disturbing indeed. How on earth can our Police and Council work together to keep our homes and family safe when senior councillors act like this? If misrepresentation and the damage to confidence in the Council’s support of local policing are not bad enough, these Group Officers are paid by the taxpayer. From our Council Tax they receive ‘special responsibility allowances’ for these official positions. The Group Officer jobs are therefore public (not Party) offices but are openly used to pursue personal feuds. Their actions are unworthy: more typical of a primary school playground, and set an unacceptable standard for elected councillors. They may think that the standards of the public office do not apply when acting in their Group capacity, but as we are paying for them to undertake political roles they are mistaken – they are accountable to us: the public. Excluding the Leader and Deputy’s payments (which are genuine council functions) the Conservative Group Officers have pocketed almost £75,000 of our cash since the last election. Councillors are usually limited to receiving a single responsibility allowance, but this rule does not apply to political payments. Instead Cllr Parnaby is free to distribute the ‘group allowance’ amongst his favoured few as he sees fit. The Group Officers, who signed their ill-judged letter, get the political allowance ON TOP of all their other allowances. Group Secretary, Cllr Felicity Temple, who is at the centre of the row, has recently had her political allowance increased to £11,697 keeping her total pay-out  equivalent to that of a Cabinet member. Only one other Council in the whole of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire, fund such activity, they pay £2316 These allowances are nothing more than ‘back door’ public payment to a political party, but ERYC officials justify it as being to serve the function of the council. This in itself is highly dubious, and a recent report by commissioned by the Taxpayers Alliance shows that most councils in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire make no such payments to political parties. We doubt any member of the public would consider this a good use of their money. What we have is a publicly-funded self-styled political elite passing itself off as the voice of a large political group. They use their public office to carry out personal vendettas against an elected official and his appointed deputy and to unseat and disadvantage other associated councillors. It is time the activity of these individuals was stopped and any public monies paid to them for political purposes returned to the taxpayer. When councils are cutting services, how can they justify handing over huge sums of cash for political activity, especially when that activity involves personal political vendettas and manipulation of the candidate selection process. J4B will be writing to. Mr Peter Jordan, a Bridlington resident who Chairman of the Members’ Allowances Panel asking him for an immediate suspension of and review of all political responsibility payments.

 

1 of 5 HDM 06,12,14 (1)

 

2 of 5 HDM 06,12,14 (2)

 

 

3 of 5 DPCC Letter to Cllr Temple

 

 

4 of 5 Group Officer's Accusation

 

 

5 of 5 HDM Report on Accusation (1)

 

 

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