Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Budget Crisis

The first big test of the new Mayoral system for local Government in Torbay is upon us.

Nick Bye is the directly elected mayor and he is now responsible for putting forward a budget settlement to the Council.

In order to have his budget approved Mr Bye needs at least one third support in the council chamber.

The Liberal Democrats have more than two thirds of the seats and all the signs are so far that they intend to obstruct every move that Nick makes, it seems, just for political bloody mindedness sake.

If no agreement can be reached the Mayor would eventually have to accept Lib Dems alternative budget proposals. Being the pragmatic and wily operator that he is I expect Nick Bye is well aware of that possibility.

An unpopular budget settlement that was made by the Lib Dems and forced through council against the wishes of the newly elected and still popular Mayor would demonstrate very clearly to the Torbay electorate what I have said all along;
that the Lib Dems hold the majority of the Council and are still the controlling Party and are responsible for the mess this town is in and will continue to be in for a good time yet.

Mr Bye won't face the electorate until 2011, the Lib Dems on the other hand will be judged in the local council elections next year.

They never learn, do they?


Anonymous said...

If it's possible to commit suicide more than once you can rely on Torbay Lib Dems to do it.

There has never been such an inept bunch of halfwits in the town hall and that is saying something after some of the councils we have had to put up with.

I feel very sorry for Nick Bye who seems to be trying to do a decent job.

Barrie Wood said...

FYI - the Lib Dems don't have the necessary numbers to frustrate the mayoral budget.

Further, it is noticeable that the Mayor does not appear to have created much impression on, or relationship with, the Torbay Group (ex-Tories) or the independents on the council. Whilst you will publicly say otherwise, there ARE some even on the official Tory group too who have reservations about the 'wily' Mayor. Announcing arbitary across the board cuts to the press rather than engaging with councillors of all shades of opinion is not the way to get a difficult budget through. As an ex-councillor on a 'hung' or NOC authority I realise this from experience. It seems Nick is intent on learning the hard way.

With goodwill and collaboration between councillors of all shades of opinion and officers it may be possible to minimise the impact on front line services. Political showboating from the 'slippery' Mr. Bye will not achieve this.

Serving the interests of the people of Torbay is paramount and some tough talking needs to happen now !

Anonymous said...

In fairness to the Mayor, he has previously appointed Andy Westwood (Ind) to his Cabinet, though because he was ill he was unable to attend on that occassion. I think such a move demonstrates constructive working.
You are right, however, that the Lib-Dems don't have 2/3 of the votes (2/3 of 37 being rounded up to 24), they are 2 short.

Anonymous said...

Barrie you seem to be complaining that Nick Bye hasn't 'done deals' in smoke filled rooms with the Lib dems... Why should the mayor have a relationship or do deals with anyone? He was voted in fair and square and if any of the existing councillors (from any party) try and interfere with the mandate he was given by residents then woe betide them.

Barrie Wood said...

I'm far from looking for formal deals. I just believe talking to councillors of all parties and none would be a better way of formulating policy by the Mayor.

Mayor Bye prefers to make his intentions known principsally via the press which is not the way to do things in my book.

Marcus Wood said...

Only because the Lib Dems won't join his cabinet.

It was they who refused to work with Nick, not the other way round, Barrie.

Inconvenient for you I know, but true.

Barrie Wood said...

We'll have to agree to disagree. It is possible to work with Nick outside of the cabinet which is what I would want to do if I was an elected member of Torbay Council !

Repeating the myth that the Lib Dems refuse to engage with Nick is partisan propaganda and little else !

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