The Council was asked at last month’s meeting to ‘note’ Bootle Labour Leader Ian Maher’s decision to increase the size of the Cabinet from seven to nine. The trouble is that the Council’s governing Constitution says that the Cabinet shall constitute between TWO and SEVEN councillors. What is more, the constitution states that the form of the Cabinet can only be altered after proper consultation.
Southport Lib Dem Councillor Tony Dawson discovered the problem this week when he was looking into Labour’s plans to increase the number of Bootle Councillors receiving Cabinet Special Responsibility Allowances. He immediately informed the Chief Executive, Margaret Carney since it would seem that Cabinet Members cannot fulfil their role if they have not been appointed in accordance with the Constitution.
The last time that Sefton Council had a crisis over who was in its Cabinet and who was not was in 2008 when the Labour and Conservative councillors suddenly decided to throw all Lib Dems off the chairs of council committees following the unlawful ‘redundancy’ of the former Chief Executive Graham Heywood. The Lib Dems then refused to join the Cabinet and neither the Tories nor Labour would nominate a Council Leader. Sefton Council’s legal department did not know what to do and called in expensive lawyers Weightmans
CHAPTER 5 – THE CABINET
A THE CABINET ROLE
1 The Council’s Cabinet will operate as the strategic policy and decision making body of the Council carrying out such of the Council’s functions which are not the responsibility of any other part of the Council and which are allocated to the Cabinet by the Leader of the Council.
FORM AND COMPOSITION
2 The Council’s Cabinet will consist of the Leader of the Council and between one and six other Councillors appointed by the Leader.
CHANGE OF FORM OF CABINET
3 The Council will take reasonable steps to consult local electors and other interested persons in drawing up proposals, in line with Sefton’s Consultation Standards.
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