THE leader of Mansfield’s Labour group launched a scathing attack on the executive mayor and his cabinet before forcing an amendment to the budget, which sees their payments reduced by £45,000.
Mansfield District Council’s £14m budget for 2013/14 was finalised at a full council meeting last week which includes a freeze on council tax.
But a series of changes were made to the cabinet’s proposed budget, including a Labour proposal to cut the £91,094 allocated to cabinet members to £46,094.
The money saved from cabinet member payments will be allocated to support the Citizens Advice Bureau and Nottingham Credit Union.
The amendment was proposed by Labour Coun Joyce Bosnjak, who said: “It’s only right that we look at making savings where possible.
“To quote the Coalition Government ‘we’re all in this together’.
The proposal was seconded by group leader Coun Martin Lee.
He said: “This cabinet has shown themselves to be inept at driving policy. The only policy drive comes from Labour.
“Executive members have demonstrated a lack of understanding of their portfolios.”
Coun Roger Sutcliffe, deputy mayor and portfolio holder for resources, replied: “How do you follow that hot air rhetoric? That’s exactly what it is, hot air.
“In my opinion, this cabinet has worked exceptionally well for residents of this town and Mansfield District Council employees.
“The town is moving forward far faster than it has ever done.”
The Labour group also managed to stop £90,000 being given to trustees of Berry Hill Park for track improvements, reduced the publication of the My Mansfield magazine from four to two - saving £9,000 - and redirected £240,000 to extend the current apprenticeship programme.
Chad has reported in previous months about the long-running saga where Berry Hill Park trustees are stopping athletes from being able to train there.
Coun Sutcliffe said: “We are having difficulties in getting the trustees to sit around the table. But I really do feel we should keep our powder dry on this and continue to negotiate with them.”
Coun Lee replied: “The trustees have demonstrated they have no interest in supporting sport in our district so why should we negotiate with them?”
The £90,000 saving will be released back into the budget while the £9,000 saved from the My Mansfield cuts will be allocated to the Economic Stimulus Fund.
Each of the amendments were supported by all 24 Labour councillors leaving the remaining 11 Independent councillors powerless to stop the changes.
Coun Sutcliffe bemoaned the situation claiming it left no time to properly consider the amendments before making a decision on them.
He was particularly against the decision to cut the publication of the My Mansfield magazine from four a year to two without discussing the implications of it.