Mayor’s allowance panel to meet

MEMBERS of an independent panel set up to examine Mayor Stuart Drummond’s allowances after his appointment as chairman of Cleveland Police Authority are set to meet next week.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) has already met once and the next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 7.

As well as examining the mayor’s allowances, the IRP is also looking at what impact reducing the number of councillors from 47 to 33 in the recent election will have on the basic allowance.

Conservative group leader Ray Wells called for a review of the mayor’s special responsibility allowance.

Mayor Drummond picks up £19,940 for his police authority chairman’s commitments along with the £8,375 that all CPA members receive on a yearly basis.

He receives a special responsibility allowance of £58,135 for his role as town leader, as well as a basic allowance, which all councillors receive, of £5,767.

The IRP is a group of lay people assembled by the local authority to advise on levels of allowances given to councillors.

The meetings are being held behind closed doors but the findings and any recommendations will be published at a full council meeting.

Panel chairman John Taylor said: “The panel has met once and had some early deliberations. But it was felt we needed to wait until after the all-out elections in May to carry out the review in full.”

He added that it will give panel members the opportunity to assess what impact the shape of the new-look council may have on the role of councillors and the mayor.

Council bosses say it is up to the panel to determine the time scale but further meetings are expected.