A change of title for County Hall employees could see them referred to as ‘staff’ rather than ‘officers’.
The reason behind the change, the new ruling Alliance group says, is in the interest of public understanding of the difference between employees and councillors. But the plan has drawn criticism from the leader of the Tory group, Councillor Steve Hastings, who said he failed to see the rationale for a substantial change that went against what other authorities did.
In a letter to council leader, Councillor Lora Peacey-Wilcox, he said:
“I consider this to be a highly questionable proposal with no discernible merit.”
The Alliance Group has put together 15 new proposals to amend the way the council operates, including:
- Changing the times and lengths of meetings
- Timeframes for written motions
- The way planning applications are called before the planning committee, removing the step to consult the strategic manager for planning
- Allowing questions asked by the Youth Council
- A further minute for public speakers, increasing to 6 minutes.
- Voting rights restored to a co-opted member of the Isle of Wight Association of Local Councils on planning and corporate scrutiny committees
Another proposed change is to not have a leader’s annual update report at the yearly general meeting if they are not re-elected.
It follows the first full Isle of Wight Council meeting in May earlier this year which saw the previous leader Dave Stewart submit his report after losing his seat to Councillor Claire Critchison. At the time, the newly appointed chair Councillor Geoff Brodie noted the report but did not allow Mr Stewart to speak on it.
The report that proposes the changes is titled ‘reintroducing democracy to the council’s constitution, something Cllr Hastings has called misleading and falsely implies the current constitution does not provide democracy. He said it was also insulting to those who worked on the current version of the document and he will be talking to the monitoring office about it.
The changes will be discussed and voted on at the full council meeting on Wednesday.