Plea for shared decision-making on Staveley Town Council after parties split
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Labour secured six seats, the Lib Dems secured five, the Independents also secured five and there was one more undesignated councillor who was also voted in, leaving what Cllr Jacobs called a ‘hung council’.
In a letter to fellow members he said: “Once again the council has been returned with an interesting mix of councillors from various parties and groups but this does not alter the fact that Staveley Town Council remains a hung council.
“In view of this and the difficult path the council will need to negotiate over the next four years, I thought it would be helpful to openly inform the entire council of the Liberal Democrats’ position from the outset.
“In reality, Staveley Town Council is virtually a three-way split between three elected groups and no one group has enough votes to govern the council. We therefore suggest that the council adopts a collegiate approach, whereby a chair is appointed and the group leaders meet and work together with the town clerk.”
Cllr Jacobs added that the Liberal Democrat councillors would vote against anyone who puts themselves forward as leader unless they issue an advanced, clear written statement of what they propose to do to turn around the council and its financial management and that there will be joint agreements over any proposed solutions.
The council, under the Independents, has previously had to borrow around £400,000 from Chesterfield Borough Council to save it from bankruptcy.
Independent Staveley Town Councillor Paul Mann previously stated that the pandemic and historic debts were to blame for the council’s financial plight and that it has been in a ‘financial mess’ since about 2014.
Cllr Jacobs has called for a ‘collegiate approach’ as opposed to a “strong leader” model which he claims gives far too much scope for one person to give instructions to a town clerk, or to agree with a town clerk’s proposals, without prior agreement and discussion.
Cllr Jacobs said he hopes arrangement can be reached so progress can be made irrespective of party groups. Staveley Town Council is due to hold its annual meeting at 6pm, on Tuesday, May 23, at the Speedwell Rooms.
During a previous council meeting, on April 25, the council outlined in its minutes that all salaries and redundancy payments have been paid to staff and the pensions were up to date as at March 31.
It also stated that approximately half of an outstanding debt to HMRC had been cleared by March 31 and more has since been paid off, and outstanding monies owed to the council had been reduced from approximately £45,000 to about £8,000 with arrangements to pay having been agreed.
Requests for comments about Cllr Jacobs’ proposals have been made to the council, the town clerk, Labour Cllr Barry Dyke, and Independent Cllr Paul Mann who have all so far been unavailable.