County Councillor, Sue Woodward (Burntwood North), has challenged Staffordshire County Council to ensure that all information to be considered at meetings is shared with all members, not just those in the Conservative controlling group.
This follows on from Thursday’s meeting where a new Leader and Deputy Leader were elected but appointments to their new Cabinet were not shared with Labour Members until nearly three hours into the meeting, in spite of numerous requests that it should.
Cllr Woodward said:
“It was slightly bizarre to say the least that new Cabinet Members were fielding questions even before all members, let alone the residents of Staffordshire, had been officially informed of their appointment. That makes me think this was the proverbial cock-up rather than any conspiracy but I was infuriated by a number of Conservative members telling me I had received it the previous afternoon. I hadn’t as it had only been shared with Conservatives, not with the Opposition Group.
I’ve received an apology from the one Conservative who was the most vocal on this but I’ve now written to the Monitoring Officer at the County Council seeking assurances that it won’t happen again.
One Conservative basically told me it was nothing to do with me until they were elected at the Council, even though this didn’t actually happen. Some of them think that the Council is a Conservative Club: it’s certainly not and they shouldn’t treat it as such.”
After contacting senior members and officers before and during the meeting, the list of new Cabinet Members was finally sent to Cllr Woodward and the Labour Group Leader and Deputy Leader at 12.49, two hours and forty-nine minutes after the meeting started.
Cllr Woodward added:
“I wish the new Leader and his team well. I have a great deal of respect for him and his Deputy and I look forward to working with the new Cabinet for the benefit of our residents.
Frankly, though, it wasn’t a good look to start off with and I hope it won’t happen again.”