There was a procedural hiccup in this month’s meeting of Penarth Town Council when members were asked to approve the new expenses packages for the Mayor and Deputy Mayor.
The Town Clerk of Penarth, Emma Smith – officiating at her first council meeting – presented a report on sums of money which will be payable to the new Mayor and Deputy Mayor for 2016/17, taking account of the latest rulings by the Independent Remuneration Board for Wales .
She tabled recommendations – made by the Policy and Finance Committee – that:-
- The Town Mayor’s allowance for 2017/17 should be £3,200
- The Deputy Town Mayor’s allowance for 2016/17 should be £200 and that
- An additional amount of £2,500 should be made available from the Civic Account fort 2015/17 to meet all expenses of a civic/ceremonial nature. In this respect, amounts would be withdrawn with the authority of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Policy and Finance Committee [* see footnote]
Cllr Cuddy intervened during the Town Clerk’s report and said “Sorry – I’m just wondering whether we have to declare an interest whilst we’re sitting here. – I don’t think so, because we have already agreed the amount, haven’t we?.”
[ PDN Note : The amounts had been recommended in a meeting of the Policy and Finance Committee on March 9th 2016 which was chaired by Cllr Cuddy. At that meeting no declaration of interest had been made even though Cllr Cuddy is the 2015/16 Deputy Mayor and nominated Town Mayor for 2016/17]
Cllr Cuddy apologised for the interruption and the Town Clerk resumed her report.
However then, Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) – one of the most experienced members of the council – intervened to ask the Town Clerk whether he could raise a point .
He said “I think Cllr Cuddy is correct. I do think the two people nominated ” [i.e. the current Deputy Mayor and nominee as 2016/17 Mayor, Cllr Cuddy – and the nominated Deputy Mayor 2016/17, Cllr Tracey Alexander] “have to leave the room. We have done that in the past” .
After Cllr Wilson’s intervention both Cllr Cuddy and Cllr Alexander did leave the council chamber – both having now, in effect, declared an interest. The Town Clerk’s report was accepted and the proposed payments will be made Cllr Cuddy and Cllr Alexander when they take up their roles as the new Town Mayor and Deputy Mayor next month
The current Town Mayor Cllr Rosemary Cook (Labour St Augustines) then invited the Town Clerk to repeat her presentation of the proposed Mayoral and Deputy Mayoral Allowances for 2016/17 – which she did.
Cllr Cuddy and Cllr Alexander then re-joined the meeting.
As previously reported by PDN, ( http://tinyurl.com/j7xpwzo ) Cllr Cuddy has also become the first-ever Penarth councillor to receive a remuneration (£500 per annum) in recognition of his role as Leader of the Council. Until to now all Penarth councillors have been unpaid and have fulfilled their roles on a purely voluntary basis. The £500 payment had been approved by the Policy and Finance Committee on March 9th 2016 on the basis of being paid only for a single year – 2016/17 and would therefore require further votes in council if it is to continue beyond 2016/17.
The outgoing Mayor Cllr Cook said this would her last council meeting before the AGM [i.e. before May’s special Mayor-making council meeting at which Cllr Cuddy will be formally elected as her successor ] and she said she would like to thank everyone for their support in council meetings over the past year.
* [ PDN Footnote : The additional amount of £2,500 to be available from the Civic Account was not mentioned in the Policy and Finance Committee of March 9th. All the money for the payments to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor comes from the Penarth Town Council’s precept on local council-tax payers which this year rose by a record 4.51% ]