A Newport Councillor is keeping up his campaign to press the Leader of the Isle of Wight Council, Cllr Ian Stephens, to resign from a time-consuming, highly-paid external position he has taken with the Local Government Association.
Cllr Chris Whitehouse (Conservative Newport West) has today said he will submit a new Motion in time for the next Full Council meeting:
“At the Full Council Meeting on Wednesday (17th September) The Chair of the Council decided that it was inappropriate for me to move an amendment to an existing council Motion to enable these matters to be aired. I respected that decision, but I am determined that this matter will be fully debated. I have therefore today submitted a separate, stand-alone Motion for the next Full Council Meeting.”
The text of Cllr Whitehouse’s Motion reads:
The need for the Leader of the Council to focus on the Island’s needs
This Council records its profound concern at reports that its Leader, Cllr Ian Stephens, has taken a position with the Local Government Association which requires a significant time commitment and for which he receives a substantial allowance of £15,712 in addition to the basic allowance of £7,903 as a councillor and his Special Responsibility Allowance as Council Leader which he personally proposed be put up to £15,806, giving him an income from council work of £39,421; observes that at a time when the Council has a financial crisis requiring urgent budget cuts, manpower reductions and service reconfigurations Cllr Stephens’ place should be here, on the Island, giving Leadership to his administration and its officers; deeply regrets the Leader’s decision to take this external remunerated position and calls upon him to think again and resign from it forthwith.
The next Full Council Meeting is on 15th October and Cllr Whitehouse warns:
“It is hard to see how debate on this matter can be blocked again. I shall press the issue to a named vote and hope that Council will deliver a clear ultimatum to Cllr Stephens that he should stand down from his external position or consider whether he can in conscience continue as Leader of our Council.
“This is not personal. It is because I consider Cllr Ian Stephens has a really valuable contribution to make to the Island that I want him to spend his time here helping us out of the crisis that we are in financially, and sorting out the splits and infighting that have so paralysed the Independent Group of councillors.”