With the defeat of ‘no confidence’ motions behind them, Ryde Town Council (RTC) have set out plans for what they see as a bright future for the town and shed light on the recent loss of the two clerks.
No rise in the precept
Last night the RTC Finance Committee met to set their 2020/21 budget, a balanced budget with no rise in the precept. Through efficiency savings, the council say they now have enough funds available to expand their services.
“Through careful financial management and reorganisation in 2019/20 financial year, the council is in a good position to move ahead with exciting new projects in the 2020/21 financial year.”
Savings made through staff reorganisation
The Mayor of Ryde, Cllr Michael Lilley explained,
“We had to make some tough decisions at the end of 2019. These will enable the Council to restructure in order to manage our budget effectively and efficiently.
“We are in the process of reorganising our staff team so we are ready to deliver key exciting projects over the next year. The new Historic High Streets Fund project will start, we are considering taking over Ryde harbour and exploring how Ryde Theatre can be brought back in use.
“We are working on creating – and recruiting for – a new post of Town Clerk/Chief Executive to lead our dedicated and fabulous Ryde Town staff working on these projects “
Jordan: Members confused between secrecy and confidentiality
Cllr Phil Jordan, Chair of the Finance Committee added,
“The last year has been exciting but democracy does often involve disagreement and this resulted in last Friday’s two significant meetings.
“At the first meeting the majority of members voted through changes such as making the ten year old posts of two clerks redundant and creating a new post of Town Clerk/Chief Executive. At the second meeting members opposed to these changes called a no confidence vote in the Mayor, myself and my colleagues.
“I thank the majority of members for their confidence in us and the Ryde First team. This is democracy at work. I totally accept that we need to improve our auditing processes and reorganisation with a transparent independent review.
“We need also need to be a responsible employer and this includes confidentiality of employee issues as stated in legislation. Recent events have meant members have been confused between secrecy and confidentiality. This needs to be addressed and will be. We now move forward with the ability to improve Ryde for the benefit of its residents with a balanced budget and no precept rise.”
The RTC explain the majority of councillors led by Mayor, Cllr Lilley, have progressively pushed through changes in the past year. These changes were touched on by Cllr Axford during last Friday’s meeting and include:
- A detailed review of Ryde Town Council governance and how councillors interact with staff.
- Developing a new team that puts the Ryde community first.
- Commission of a Ryde Place plan in collaboration with Isle of Wight Council and the Ryde Regeneration Forum including Ryde Business Association and Ryde Society.
- Investing in its staff team to enable them to develop the plan which focuses on supporting the Ryde community and voluntary sector to grow and flourish.
A programme of actions to improve employee conditions and make efficiency savings was approved at last Friday’s meeting.
Extraordinary General Meeting is a Full Council Meeting
Cllr Lilley added,
“There is a lot of talk about items have not gone to full council. An Extraordinary General Meeting is a Full Council Meeting and last Friday we had two EGMs which constitute Full Council meetings (one meeting 15 of 16 attended and the second 16 out of 16, there definitely full Council meetings).
“The first meeting had nine votes for, five against and one abstention, and at second meeting nine votes against motions of no confidence, six for and one abstention.
“One where the press and public were excluded rightly due to discussing a range of employee issues which under Standing Order 54 and 70d are clearly confidential and in accordance with GDPR, Human Rights Act and Employment Legislation.
“The second was properly in public. At both meetings there were democratic votes. RTC had discussed issues and voted democratically. We have no Full Council Meeting between 2nd December and 3rd February.
“Extraordinary Meetings of the Full Council were called to resolve important issues which is exactly what has been done. A clear majority had confidence in members in positions on Council and a clear majority approved decisions to move the Council forward as a responsible employer and push forward opportunities for the Town.”
Lilley: “Ryde is growing but the precept will not be going up”
Cllr Lilley finished by saying,
“The key focus for Ryde Town Council is to move positively forward. The Finance Committee Meeting last night (Tuesday) was positive with nine members discussing how to support the community and voluntary to grow.
“We explored how we could support events such as the classic car extravaganza grow and the Tour of Britain Cycling event is coming to Ryde in 2022.
“It was lively and enthusiastic. Ryde is growing but the precept will not be going up, although this needs to be confirmed at 3rd February Full Council.
“The Finance talked about how the Council can engage better with the community and in the next year hold more events to consult with residents on what direction the Town should develop.
“We reviewed reports from over ten community projects such as Ryde Carnival, Aspire, Waterside Community Pool Trust, and Footprint Trust. Ryde TC is a major funder in the Town to grassroots projects supporting residents in some many positive ways. The plan is to build on this good work in 20/21.”
9.37am 22nd Jan 2020 – Additional comment from Clr Lilley on EGMs and Full council meetings added