Big crit­i­cism of may­oral body

An ‘ex­tra­or­di­nary’ let­ter signed by the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil and fel­low lo­cal gov­ern­ment lead­ers has high­lighted ma­jor con­cerns with the county’s may­oral author­ity.

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - NEWS - By Joel Lamy joel.lamy@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @PTJoelLamy

Gil­lian Beasley has ex­pressed con­cerns about the run­ning of the Cam­bridgeshire and Peter­bor­ough Com­bined Author­ity (CA), which is headed by Mayor James Palmer, over its trans­parency, gov­er­nance and the way it spends money.

Mrs Beasley, who is also chief ex­ec­u­tive of Cam­bridgeshire County Coun­cil, was joined in sign­ing the “un­prece­dented” let­ter by the chief ex­ec­u­tives of Fen­land, South Cam­bridgeshire and Cam­bridge coun­cils, the county’s chief con­sta­ble, chief fire of­fi­cer, the di­rec­tor of cor­po­rate af­fairs at the county’s clin­i­cal com­mis­sion­ing group, and other se­nior fig­ures .

On fi­nan­cial mat­ters, the chiefs said: “There is an in­creas­ing con­cern that the rules of op­er­a­tion that you are us­ing are not clear or widely un­der­stood.”

There were also wor­ries the mayor was mak­ing ‘un­con­sti­tu­tional’ de­ci­sions.

The let­ter reads: “Re­ports to lead­ers are of­ten framed in terms of what the mayor wishes to do when, con­sti­tu­tion­ally, the mayor is not the de­ci­sion maker, it is the CA.”

It adds: “The way some de­ci­sions are be­ing han­dled is now caus­ing real con­cern”.

Mr Palmer ad­mit­ted it was “frus­trat­ing” that it had got to the point where the chief ex­ec­u­tives had had to write, but re­fer­ring to an in­ter­nal re­view which is be­ing car­ried out, he added: “I be­lieve the chief ex­ec­u­tives are happy with the di­rec­tion we are tak­ing.”

The Peter­bor­ough Tele­graph con­tacted the city coun­cil which said Mrs Beasley was happy that a re­view was go­ing ahead. Lucy Neths­ingha, who chairs the author­ity’s over­view and scru­tiny com­mit­tee, de­scribed the let­ter which was first re­vealed by the Cambs Times - as an “ex­tra­or­di­nary” and “un­prece­dented” in­ter­ven­tion.

The let­ter was first sent to Martin White­ley on the same week in Au­gust that he “re­signed” as CA chief ex­ec­u­tive. Ques­tions have been raised over the quiet na­ture of his de­par­ture and his sev­er­ance pay­ment.

The PT got hold of Mr White­ley on the phone this week but he de­clined to an­swer our ques­tions. Asked if he wished to talk about his sev­er­ance pay­ment, he replied: “No, of course not,” be­fore end­ing the con­ver­sa­tion.

Mayor James Palmer and Martin White­ley

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