A COUNCILLOR-LED bid to end the Vale Council mayor and deputy allowances has been blocked by colleagues who outnumbered them at a meeting last month.
Independent councillors Richard Bertin, Phil Clarke, Kevin Mahoney, Bob Penrose and Chris Williams proposed no payments should be made to those who take on the roles which should be honorary, but other party councillors voted the roles should remain paid.
Vale council leader, Cllr Neil Moore said the councillors had misunderstood the roles.
Speaking on behalf of the opposing councillors, Sully councillor Kevin Mahoney said he and his four colleagues believed during the present financial climate, when the authority faces financial cutbacks in services like education, libraries, housing, social services, bus routes, there was no justification for the costs encountered in having a paid mayor and deputy mayor.
He said the support team, running the mayor’s chauffeur driven car and running numerous corporate functions, were estimated to be more than £100,000 a year.
Cllr Kevin Mahoney said: “The Independent group’s opposition to the continued payment of extra allowances to the mayor and deputy plus all other associated costs do not reflect criticism personally on the current or past incumbents, but is a statement on our feelings in regards to extra costs at a time when Vale Council taxpayers are increasingly being asked to contribute more whilst office holders appear to be immune from these austerity measures."
Vale Council leader, Cllr Neil Moore, said he considered the roles to be important and the true worth of the positions within the council was much more valuable than the cost incurred in paying the extra allowance, which was consistent with the council’s constitution.
He said: “The mayor and deputy mayor carry out the civic functions of the council. These functions would still need to be undertaken irrespective of whether they received an allowance for doing so. These important civic roles carry significant responsibilities; the majority of the invitations are precisely because they are the first citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan. They meet visiting dignitaries and carry out all ceremonial functions, as well as supporting many local charities, voluntary organisations and individual members of the public and I know that their presence is highly valued at community events. People should realise that they are also expected to spend money in the role, which is not an expense they can recoup.
“Previous mayor, Cllr Margaret Wilkinson and the deputy mayor Cllr Howard Hamilton attended approximately 300 public functions in their official capacity in 2013/14 on top of carrying out their role as a councillor. The mayor also raised in excess of £11,000 for her chosen charities.
“The extra allowance for the mayor and deputy mayor could amount to £10,900. This year that figure will only be £8200. I do not consider that the suggestion of not paying the mayor and deputy Mayor would save £100,000.
“The administration costs involved in the office would still be the same, whether or not the mayor and deputy mayor were paid. The organisational and administrative work undertaken by the staff would need to remain the same as the functions of the office would need to continue as before. The suggestion not to pay for the civic role would only therefore save approximately £10,900 at most and this year only £8,700.
He added: “These allowances are set by an independent panel appointed by the Welsh Government to review the senior salaries for all councils.”
The Vale also has mayors in Barry, Penarth, Cowbridge and Llantwit Major.