Maybe the majority of our electorate are not that bothered, know or understand the ‘new’ set up of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority.
It is another layer of local government which Cambs & Peterborough Councils lobbied the government for.
We had an election and Cllr James Palmer (Con) was duly elected under our democratic system. The turnout was very low 32.9% and it went to a second round count.
Elected Mayor Palmer ‘promised’ he would keep costs of this ‘new’ authority in check.
Since the election in May 2017 (less than 2 years) the running costs have escalated from a prediction of less than £1M to now £7M – when questioned Mayor Palmer apologised.
The press are having a field day with Mayor Palmer – but he has thicker skin than a rhino it would appear. His administration has gone through 4 financial directors in less than 18 months, the most recent being ‘sacked’ by Mayor Palmer.
James Palmer, mayor of the combined authority, said Mr Fenlon had been dismissed after making “misleading” statements about the funding of major projects at the authority’s overview and scrutiny committee on Monday. Mr Fenlon had cast doubt over whether major projects could be achieved within the authority’s budget.
Mr Palmer said he had to “have faith” in his officers, and said this had not been the case with Mr Fenlon.
When I read the article that Mr Fenton put out, it seemed quiet normal for a financial director to look at the ‘risk factors’ of so many large projects.
As you are aware I attended the meeting of the combined authority in October when the Kings Dyke Bridge funding was being ‘decided’. There was another item on the agenda also to do with infrastructure – Cllr Smith made a very good argument and presentation – was ‘slapped down’ by Mayor Palmer and I could almost sense the fright of the other committee members, Cllr Smiths proposal was unanimously rejected.
Now ‘we’ in Whittlesey – well most that is – think Mayor Palmer is our hero – The authority agreeing to fund all the shortfall £16+Million to build the Kings Dyke Bridge.
That may well be the case – however Mayor Palmer enlists his own committee’s – employs and dismisses people who don’t agree with him and takes little or no notice of his own scrutiny committee – in fact Councillors have been left “gobsmacked” and “disturbed” after the authority’s chief financial officer was dismissed according to the article in the Cambs Times©® this week.
Not finished – sorry – It was also Metro Mayor Palmer who said – that ‘people’ were not interested in the ‘pay-out’ he solely made to his recently departed deputy Martin Whiteley,
paying him off and apparently took £11,000 worth of legal advice – that’s some ‘advice’
Then of course there is the much lauded ‘enhanced lighting’ at Whittlesey Railway Station which received a lot of publicity – I’ll put back the photo of what £18,000 worth of LED lighting is doing – I questioned a Whittlesey councillor who said for me to ask Mayor Palmer about it.
I dare say there is more to come – but it would seem for many (even our hero for KD Bridge) that Mayor Palmer will see his time out and probably have the affront to stand again next time around….
Remember ALL this money that Mayor Palmer has is Tax Payers money – his extortionate running costs is Tax Payers money – the £Millions in running costs – becomes less to actually deliver much needed projects.