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Sunday, 6 March 2011

Just a load of baubles...

Ceremony and tradition are important. Its what defines a nation, and heritage is very important. Its always good to keep the old ways alive, and that includes the position of a ceremonial mayor.

The robes, the ermine, the bling. All stuff even the Freemasons would love...

Its generally a good thing this politically impartial role has, not only in chairing meetings but also in opening school fetes or giving out prizes. Another important role for the Mayor is of course charity work, something Hornet holds dear - and she tips her hat to current incumbent Cllr James Husband for raising around £20,000 so far for Help for Heroes. A worthy cause.

Now that got Hornet kind of wondering......

She likes a bit of pomp and circumstance, and to see a little bit of history kept going in this day and age. The value of these things can never be quantified, but the cost of them can.

The budget for having a Mayor in K&C, when you add in salaries of paid staff and the trappings of office in this borough tops £800,000 each year. Now Hornet likes a bit of bling, but the robes and chain of office are all hand-me-downs, so what possibly could take up this mammoth budget for such a small department?

Salaries usually are the biggest cost in any organisation, so exactly who is on the payroll in the Mayors Office.

Well, first we have an Assistant to the Mayor, and a Secretary to the Mayor. Then we have a Mace Bearer, oh, and an Assistant to the Secretary to the Mayor. Dont forget the Assistant to the Mace Bearer, and an Assistant Mace Bearer, actually should be the same title, but it is two actual positions. Then of course we have the Chauffer (and its not the failed Tory Candidate from Earls Court, no).

Confused? Then let Hornet spell it out, rather simpler....
  1. A Civic Officer and secretary to the Mayor
  2. A Mace Bearer
  3. Assistant Secretary to the Mayor
  4. Personal Assistant to the Mayor
  5. A Mace Bearer
  6. Two Assistant Macebearers
  7. A Chauffeur
  8. The Mayor

Thats right Dear Leader, no fewer than seven staff plus the Mayor are all on the payroll (The Mayor obviously just gets a Special Responsibility Allowance and expenses, not a salary). On top of this, there is the cost of the Mayoral Transport, the Bentley, plus of course stocking up the drinks cabinet in the Mayors Parlour.

So thats were your £800 grand goes, every year.

Hornet has an idea. Instead of cutting grants so that the elderly have to be bussed across the borough and back again to get a hot meal, or kids are dumped out on the street because their after school club has been axed, why not reduce some of the Mayors staff.

Hornet doesnt want to see council employees made compulsory redundant, and hopes they could be re-deployed elsewhere. But do we really need to have seven people in this office?

No we don't. Its the simple answer.

There should be an Assistant to the Mayor, fine we can live with that.
But he or she doubles up as the Secretary, and the Assistant Secretary. Its 2011, and we've come along quite a way in the world of eOffice, so Hornet is sure one person could quite adequately manage the Mayors diary.

There is a need for a Chauffeur, the Bentley is debatable, but a driver yes.
But he or she can also double up as the Mace Bearer. Or why not let Sixth Formers take a turn in bringing in the Mace for free? Some politics students would love the idea of it....

There you go Lightfoot. Two simple answers to an even easier question, How to save money. It will cut the costs to the Mayors office by over £550,000 a year but critically will not affect the service level one little bit.

Still, theres nothing like a tax payers funded organisation is there.


  1. Why not share mace bearers with other adjoining councils. If every London borough is spending c£800,000 a year then thats nearly £10 million a year for all the London boroughs. Ludicrous

  2. The problem with dear old Cockell is that he has a rather inflated sense of his importance-rather like Captain Mainwaring! And it was this that drove him to press ahead with the purchase of a new Bentley- despite opposition from the majority of Conservative ouncillors. In fact, it was only Barry Phelps who supported
    him so one can draw one's own conclusion...
    The fact is that a Jaguar would have been quite as suitable and shown support for the British car industry.Desire for have these symbols such as Bentleys, First Class travel etc are in themselves quite harmless foibles, but they should never be paid for by hardworking local taxpayers.
    I don't know about the feasibility of the Hornet's suggestions but in hard times we should be examining every aspect of discretionary spending.


  3. Why does K&C need two Mayors and two mayoral cars (the Bentley and the Jag)?

    The Provost of Aberdeen (oil rich Town in Scotland)uses a Skoda. And there is no "deputy Provost".

    High time to cut back on these baubles, save the ratepayers some money, and concentrate on clearing the dustbins and sweeping the parks.

    Too many inflated egos and self important twits in Hornton Street

  4. Our Mayor (outer London Borough) manages perfectly well with a secretary and a chauffeur and nothing else. The mayoral car is an LPG powered Volvo, although something Hybrid may well replace it.


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