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Members of Wokingham's independent remuneration panel resign en masse

Published: 22 Jul 2013 16:303 comments

ALL four members of a panel which guides how much Wokingham councillors get paid have resigned.

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Chairman Robin Cops, Anita Grosz, Alun Hicks and David Nash all stepped down from the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) today.

Their decision came after the Leader of Wokingham Borough Council, Cllr David Lee, ignored their recommendation not to pay £2,000-a-year to six deputy executive members.

At a full council meeting on Thursday, Cllr Lee called for the payments to be introduced and the decision was voted through by the Conservative-led council. Members of the Liberal Democrat party voted against the proposal.

In a letter to Anne Hunter, democratic services manager at the council, the four people who sat on the panel said: \"It is with great regret that we offer our resignations as members of the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP).

"Volunteer citizens who agree to serve on IRPs act as a protection against potential criticism that Councillors pay themselves excessively and irresponsibly out of public funds. This protection of the Council's reputation is only effective if the Panel's independence is seen to be real and due regard is given to its recommendations. We are extremely disappointed that the Leader used his large and loyal majority in the Council to pay allowances against the advice of the IRP.

\"In view of these circumstances, the members of the IRP feel that they cannot serve further. Consequently, we tender our resignations with immediate effect. Thank you and your colleagues for the support and advice you have provided.\"

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