I wonder if any councillors – at least those of the ruling group – actually read the local press?
If they did they must surely be aware by now that most Bostonians are absolutely fed up with what they are doing in our name. Secrecy over the Assembly Rooms, confirmation of the closing of the Market Place toilets (and the ongoing parking situation) and money continually being given to the PRSA: all decisions which the council obviously deem to be in our interests. Sorry, they are not!
Now they add yet another unbelievable twist. It seems that while everyone else in the town face cuts in family spending because of the austerity the country faces, this is the time for councillors to feel they are due an increase of up to 20% in their allowances. The top increase will go those with ‘special responsibility’ – note that last word.
The council is currently negotiating with the unions (who, don’t forget, represent those actually employed by the council) to trim the wage bill through cuts to pay and conditions. The latter will help save jobs and maintain services, we are told; and at the same time, no doubt, also help to pay the contemplated increases in allowances.
As if that was not enough we read the chief executive isn’t actually on the council payroll as such. His annual £121,500 for 15 days a month work is paid to a consultancy firm, and is likely to remain at that level for another two years or so. Add to that the £17,000-odd expenses he claimed – many families in Boston don’t earn that amount in a year – and we find, according to the council leader, that we are getting ‘value for money’.
Apparently savings have been made and the council is now ‘performing the best it ever has.’
Once upon a time it was an honour for councillors to be elected to serve the town. Now it seems most councillors are elected to serve themselves.
It is to be hoped they took a long, hard look at themselves before they voted this through (the meeting was on Monday night).
It doesn’t alter the fact they should listen to their electors more than they apparently do.