I felt that it was neccessary to post her comments as a new blog and allow interested pitsnpots readers and posters the chance to publish their comments and reactions to her in depth statement.
We, at pitsnpots are delighted that our local politicians are using our blog to communicate with a number of the cities electorate. This is the reason that we set this blog up.
Here are Joy's comments:
"John Healey, Minister for Local Government, commissioned this report into the Governance of the City of Stoke-on-Trent.
The review was actioned, and they came up with 14 recommendations, the 14th being to appoint a Transition Board and the development of an Action Plan.
Both to ensure the Council actually did what the report says.Para 5.29 onwards explains the make up of the board which it describes as a "Transition Board of local stakeholder representatives which will monitor progress on the implementation of our recomendations and help hold the Council to account."
Para 5.31 suggests the board should be in place for at least 3 years... It lists the areas its members should be drawn from... The size no more than 15...
Para 5.32 requires the Council to draw up the action plan(timetable to achieve the other 13 points), as a matter of urgency. January 2009 full council meetings will be important for this.
The new Council constitution should be ready then, and the full council to formally request the Electoral Commission to review the ward boundarys with a view to single member wards.
A vote on all out elections every 4 years is the trigger.The EC then sends in its Boundary Committee.
They start from this request, but can not be fettered by us or the Government, and after CONSIDERABLE PUBLIC CONSULTATION, they draw up their plans, which may not, and often do not agree with the Goverments view.
Of course, this is a light touch by government, and is intended to be a 'critical friend' as well.
If the Council fails to start moving forward with some urgency, or even fails at the first hurdle - the Council vote to all out elections in January, which triggers the EC and then the BC - then it is hard not to think of what may happen.
I dread to think that a complete take over, like happened in Walsall, could ever happen here in Stoke.
We are told, at present, that the members will only get allowances to cover costs.Mike Tappin, as far as I can see (and there is a couple of names I am unfamiliar with), is the only member with experience of being an elected representative, MEP, County Councillor and City Councillor. Certainly the only one ever elected in Stoke, and should be able to eloquently voice these experiences.
The Elected Mayor position is in place till next May/June (Euro elections may extend his service).If he were to stand down now, it is too late for a by election so his Deputy, Cllr Pervez would act in his place till then.
The publics views will be crucial to how all this pans out.It is the views of groups like on this blog, and individuals to make their feeling known at the right time.
To have your points worked out in time, as a group, it would be worth starting some serious debate on the points in the report, seeing how some work or do not work when taken together.
Some obvious ones are: Less Councillors - but more scrutiny work, and spend more time in the ward.
Higher calibre Councillors - will need to be paid properly if younger proffessionals are to be attracted, especially if you have to have alot of time off work, and a £200,000 mortgage to pay ??
Recommendation 135.24 A wider North Staffordshire Authority ??
Recommendation's 5 and 6Both are about community involvment, firstly for all citizens, then especially the young, and our diverse communities.You could easily start these very important debates on this Blog site. I wish you well, and if I can assist further, I will."
Councillor Joy Garner