Last Wednesday was the ‘Annual Council’ meeting of Bury Council. Councillor Michael Powell reports:
This is an important meeting, attended by all 51 councillors. This time, for the first time ever, the meeting took place as a video conference with all councillors sat in their own homes (apart from the Mayor who was in the Council chamber.)
There were three main pieces of business:
Appointments for 2020-21
The ruling Labour Group had changed who they proposes as Council Leader and Deputy Leader for this year. Our new Council Leader is Councillor Eamon O’Brien, and the new Deputy Council Leader is Councillor Tamoor Tariq. There has also been a change in the Liberal Democrat Group’s leadership and I have been elected as Group Leader with Councillor Cristina Tegolo continuing as deputy.
The controversial aspect of the appointments were around the proposal for the Labour Party to increase the number of paid posts for Labour councillors. They increased the size of the Cabinet from 7 members to 9 members (all of whom are paid) and increased the number of ‘Deputy Cabinet Members’ from five to ten (all of whom are paid). In total this is an extra £25,000 being paid out to Labour councillors. A total of 24 out of 28 Labour councillors now get an extra allowance. We voted against this. It seems ridiculous in the middle of a crisis, where the Council is facing a £20 million loss as a result of COVID-19, to be making up new jobs and paying councillors extra.
State of the Borough Debate
The new Council Leader led a short ’State of the Borough’ debate. Opposition Leader get a chance to respond and I raised the points about how we move forwards as a Borough from the Coronavirus crisis, and making sure that the future is a compassionate future and a green future. I also took the opportunity to place on record the thanks to everyone who has kept Bury’s key services going over recent months.
Appointment of Mayor
Finally Councillors appointed a new Mayor for 2020-21. For the first time in 17 years this is a Liberal Democrat Mayor, my colleague and Holyrood Ward Councillor Tim Pickstone. Tim has served as a Prestwich councillor for the last 20 years and I know he will do a good job as Mayor. The existing Mayor, Councillor Trevor Holt, was appointed as Deputy Mayor.
The papers from the meeting are here. Any questions please just ask.