Councillors Concern Over Constitution Proposals

PUBLISHED: 18:29 13 May 2010 | UPDATED: 13:32 02 June 2010

WORRIED councillors have hit out at new proposals which could see as little as three of their colleagues left to make the majority of the decisions for the entire district. Councillors are concerned that if the new cabinet style system being discussed i

WORRIED councillors have hit out at new proposals which could see as little as three of their colleagues left to make the majority of the decisions for the entire district.

Councillors are concerned that if the new 'cabinet style' system being discussed is given the go-ahead, many decisions would be left to just a handful of selected members, while opposition and independent councillors could be left with much less of a say.

Haddenham councillor Gareth Wilson, told the Ely Standard: "I think that the system we have now ensures that all councillors have the chance to contribute and have their opinions heard and I don't see the need to change the system we have.

"I think the cabinet system is unnecessary. It will be less effective for the majority of councillors who aren't chosen for the cabinet and it will mean that the majority of decisions will be made by one party."

Under proposals being discussed by the district council, a 'cabinet style' system would be introduced after the local elections in 2011 which would see a lone council leader and a cabinet of his or her choosing allowed to make the overwhelming majority of council decisions.

The leader of the council would be chosen from the ruling party, as decided by the election, and he or she would then pick between two and nine councillors to sit alongside them in a cabinet.

The role of the remaining councillors thereafter would be to scrutinise the decisions made by the cabinet, which would hold power for a full four years.

Key decisions, including those involving the budget, would still have to be approved at meetings of the full council, which all members attend

Cllr Ian Allen, said: "I think that this system will create a ruling elite who will make the majority of the decisions, with remaining councillors left to scrutinise the decisions that are made.

"The Liberal Democrats were given the opportunity to make a similar change a number of years ago but we decided that it would be better to allow all members to have their say with the committee system."

Though no decisions have yet been made, a working party and a public consultation have been set up with members from all parties invited to discuss the proposals. A decision is expected by December.

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