Defiant mayor shrugs off critics and removes one of them
Robert Alexander & John Elworthy
- Credit: Nik Johnson/Twitter
Mayor Dr Nik Johnson says he is determined to stay in his job, despite repeated calls for his resignation.
The leader of Peterborough City Council, Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald described the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CAPCA) as being in “total meltdown”.
Cllr Fitzgerald said that mayor Johnson should “consider stepping down and resigning” because “he is not fit and able to do the job as mayor of the authority”.
External auditors Ernst and Young, have written a letter in which they “have identified a significant weakness in the CAPCA’s governance arrangements.”
Associate Partner at EY, Mark Hodgson says: “We have commenced our audit work for the financial year ending 31 March 2022.
“We believe this weakness is pervasive as it could lead to a significant impact on the quality or effectiveness of services or on its reputation and could expose the authority to financial risk or loss.”
At the convened CAPCA board meeting on June 8 Mayor Johnson made an impassioned speech in which he made it very clear he has no intention of resigning.
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And he made it clear he was proud to be mayor and will continue to do the job to the best of his ability.
The mayor also announced that Cllr Fitzgerald – who had been removed from his position as deputy mayor two weeks ago – was facing changes.
He is also to lose his role as chair of the governance committee with mayor Johnson himself taking up the chairman’s role.
And there was also the surprise of a second deputy mayor.
Cllr Lewis Herbert remains as statutory deputy mayor – he replaced Cllr Fitzgerald on May 20.
But Mayor Dr Nik Johnson also revealed that a second deputy mayor, Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, also leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, would work alongside his top team.
Cllr Nethsingha will have a wider remit, including the likelihood of chairing meetings in the absence of the mayor. Former mayor James Palmer also had two deputy mayors .
Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, Cllr Anna Bailey said: “There are at least 26 members of staff who have resigned their positions and many, many more that we know of who are in the process of quitting because they simply cannot work with this mayor.”
“I am appalled every time I sit at one of these meetings at the way in which this authority is being conducted, and if we are not careful, central government will step in and put an end to it if we don’t get our act together.”