Councillors met in the chamber for an emergency full council on 25 September at 6pm, triggered by the first Section 114 notice issued earlier this month.
Prior to the meeting, Group Leader Roger Harmer wrote to Max Caller, welcoming his appointment to resolve the city’s many problems. He asked Mr Caller to investigate 5 key areas: Equal pay, Oracle, Governance, Scrutiny and Regeneration.
Responding to the difficult decisions facing the council, esteemed Councillor Paul Tilsley referred to the “Four horsemen of the apocalypse: The sale of council assets, reduced staff, reduced services and increased council tax.”
On Equal Pay Group Leader Cllr Roger Harmer said "It frankly looks ridiculous to the public that it will take another 18 months to complete the job evaluation process; after all its not the first time that local authorities have evaluated the roles of their employees”.
Cllr Jon Hunt pointed out local Lib Dem manifestos since 2018 have proposed solutions to Equal Pay risk and the problem of managing Europe's largest waste service. No other party did this.
Cllr Morriam Jan continued on this point, reminding the Labour administration that Equal pay claims go back 6 years which spans their administration.
Cllr Ayoub Khan reflected the feelings of many opposition councillors, uncomfortable about the way that Labour councillors referred to the crisis as an opportunity "It's shocking to hear that the word opportunity arises. By bringing us to a place where the government installs commissioners, they've taken away our democracy."
Cllr Izzy Knowles summed up the problems: “Bad decision making. Lack of accountability. Lack of scrutiny. Focus on big projects. Failing local services” but went on to add “I am naturally an optimistic person. I don’t give up on things I care about. It’s why I will keep standing up for my city. It’s why I’ll do my very best to protect them against the pain that is to come.”
The Liberal Democrats are committed to holding this administration to account, but their priority will be to do what they can to help the recovery.