Pledge to cut mayoral salary in half

A POLITICAL group has pledged to slash the mayoral salary by half if Hartlepool votes to keep the elected position and their candidate is elected.

Hartlepool is set to host a mayoral referendum on Thursday, November 15, to give people the chance to have their say on how Hartlepool Borough Council is run in the future.

There will be two choices on the ballot paper, to keep the directly elected mayor and cabinet model or a committee system which sees committees made up of elected councillors.

The Hartlepool Conservative Future (CF) group say if the public decides to keep faith with the current system then their candidate in the next mayoral election, to be held in May 2013, would offer to reduce the salary by half.

Mayor Stuart Drummond currently receives a special responsibility allowance of £58,135 for his role as town mayor, as well as the basic allowance of £5,767.

Shane Moore, chairman of Hartlepool CF, said the group has been campaigning to give people the chance of a referendum for more than a year.

Mr Moore, who has the backing of the Conservative Group on Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “What I find sad is that people who would prefer to keep an elected mayor may very well vote against it because they have lost faith with the current mayor and see no real alternative.

“This needed to be addressed and is why we have come up with the proposal to put to the residents of Hartlepool.

“Should the public go out and vote to keep the directly elected mayor and cabinet system, Hartlepool Conservatives will guarantee that we will field a mayoral candidate in next years election which will :

● Offer reduction of the mayoral allowance by no less than 50 per cent.

● Appoint a cabinet made up of all political groups and independents represented on the council, giving a fair and balanced view of important decisions.

● Give a 100 per cent commitment to the role of mayor and will not take up a second paid job.

● Produce and deliver an ambitious plan for the future of Hartlepool which will see the town move forward, instead of managing its decline.”

Mr Moore added: “I do not believe that the elected mayor of one of the smallest unitary authorities in the realm should be paid anywhere near the amount that we currently pay.

“£32,000 or less is more than sufficient for the civic leader in a town where the average voter is lucky to take home £13,000 to 14,000 pa.”

Mayor Stuart Drummond, who became the town’s first elected mayor in May 2002, has previously welcomed the chance for people to have their say.

The referendum will be held to coincide with the Police Crime Commissioner election and polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm.

Plans for the referendum were confirmed at a recent meeting of the full council.