PAUL Walker (Mail, October 8) asked the question “why change?’’ in connection with the forthcoming referendum which will decide whether Hartlepool continues to have an elected Mayor or returns to having a system where decisions are made by elected Hartlepool Borough Councillors attending committee meetings.
He went on to say that, without a mayor and cabinet system, decisions will effectively be made in secret by a small group of councillors who always put the interests of their party before what is best for the town.
He prefers the current arrangement where the Mayor and his cabinet make the decisions and the other councillors, the great majority of them, play no part at all in the discussions.
How democratic is that?
He also said that “there is a distinct lack of talent or ability in the Labour Group” but he didn’t mention the fact that Mayor Drummond had six Labour councillors in his cabinet with two independents and no Conservatives or Liberal Democrats.
How democratic is that?
Next he implied that the people in Hartlepool who support either the Conservatives or the Lib Dems simply can’t be bothered to turn out and vote and that is why Labour always has a majority.
It seems that he has a low opinion of a lot of people in the town, even though he was awarded a backdated pay rise of £10,000 a year which increased his pension payments.
An increase approved by the cabinet which had a majority of Labour councillors.
He also said that Labour councillors decided against accepting private sector bids to run the council’s computer and housing benefit systems so savings of £10m were rejected.
But those savings would only have been achieved over a period of seven years and there were certain unidentified costs which could have reduced the savings significantly.
That is why the Labour Group voted against the proposals.
Finally, Paul Walker posed the following questions for the Labour Group.
What is your vision for Hartlepool?
What is your 10-year plan?
What targets will you set to show you are making progress?
What major projects do you have in mind and what will they cost?
He clearly doesn’t believe Labour has such a plan.
I suggest that the Mayor and cabinet don’t have a 10-year plan either.
Britain, the European Union, the USA, etc all have very severe economic problems.
And things will get worse before they get better.
In particular, what is happening in the countries that use the euro resembles a slow motion train crash. And no-one knows what to do.
The situation is so difficult that it would be a waste of time trying to devise a detailed 10 year plan.
If a plan was produced it would be useless because no-one knows what will happen in the short term, never mind the next 10 years.