Monday, 13 October 2008

"Well, here’s another nice mess you've gotten me into, Stanley." (Oliver Hardy 1930)

Wanted: One clerk to the council, Stanley, Co Durham. Salary scale £43,118 - £46,503. 37 hours per week.

A town council, established with the encouragement of Government when it received a 2,500 name petition of support, held its first meeting some five months ago.

Now, Stanley Town Council is advertising for a Town Clerk, with the not inconsiderable salary package shown above.

As you’ve probably already guessed, not everyone is totally happy with this development.

For example, Watts Stelling, who leads the Derwentside Independents (the main opposition group in the district) doesn’t seem to be very impressed. He said “That seems a ridiculous amount for somebody taking over what is in effect a parish council. I personally don’t believe there will be enough work to justify that scale of salary”.

And Mr Stelling isn’t the only one it seems. DCC Reg Ord who represents Burnopfield and Dipton, Stanley weighed in with: “The town council is going to have to justify that salary to the council tax payers of Stanley; they are the ones footing the bill”.

We rooted about for the job ad. It reads: “We are seeking a suitably qualified, experienced and enthusiastic person to be appointed as our first Town Clerk.

“This full time post requires the Clerk to be responsible for managing the day to day business of the Council, providing appropriate advice and implementing Council decisions”.

(Think I’ll dust off my CV: I’m experienced; and I can surely be enthusiastic with a salary of c£45,000 on offer!)

If you follow the wild and wonderful world of local politics, you’ll recall that the issue of a town council for Stanley caused a bit of a tiff among Labour Party loyalists.

Some of them supported North Durham MP Kevan Jones who campaigned vigorously for the council; but others said the new beast would simply add to the burden on local council tax payers – it would be a white elephant.

(Hmmm….white elephant, Stanley, mess…..there must be room for another Laurel & Hardy gag in there somewhere!)

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