When news happens, text ROMS and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Does council leader need extra powers?
10:40am Monday 26th March 2012 in News
A COUNCIL chief has been slammed for granting himself extra new powers without consulting elected members.
Test Valley Borough leader Ian Carr’s new powers include appointing or removing his deputy and handing out or taking away power from other cabinet members.
Mr Carr will also be able to make urgent decisions on their behalf when they are not available.
But Romsey Lib Dem councillor Mark Cooper condemned the move as “dictatorial” and called on fellow councillors to remove Mr Carr as leader. He said: “I find it absolutely staggering that this matter is a decision for the leader himself and not for the 48 councillors of the whole council.
“Whilst it’s probably legal, the public perception will be that this is an abuse of process.”
Mr Cooper said the move was another step away from local democracy that began with the abolition of the committee system.
He said:“The next annual council meeting could be an opportunity to elect a leader who is committed to returning to the democratic and more inclusive committee system of administration – in which every backbencher has a role to play.”
But Mr Carr rejected claims that the move was “dictatorial” and he was a merely taking up powers granted to him by the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act that came into force in May last year.
He said: “It will mean there is a quicker decision making. It will be much more efficient.”
He said there had been occasions in the past when he needed to make a quick decision but was foreced to wait until the next cabinet meeting.
Mr Carr is set to grant himself the powers on Tuesday at the Leader’s Decision Day.