THE row over the role of Wrexham’s mayor took a new twist yesterday when the leader of the local authority launched an attack on a fellow councillor.
Last week Cllr Keith Gregory called for a debate on the future of the mayoral role.
He questioned whether it represented value for money at a time when all but six of the 34 community councils in the county were being asked to take on running costs of some community facilities.
But yesterday Wrexham Council leader Cllr Neil Rogers slammed Cllr Gregory’s attendance at meetings to discuss the council’s spending.
And he said he had “repeatedly” asked Cllr Gregory to submit a motion for the council to debate the mayoral spend, but without success.
Cllr Rogers said until Cllr Gregory did so, the debate was not going to take place, other than in the media.
Cllr Rogers said: “There is a council meeting on September 25 and I note that no submission of a motion has been received.
“Since the elections of 2012, Wrexham Council, like all councils in Wales, has been looking and addressing shortfalls in the financial situation and during this period there has been six all-member workshops looking at the budget and the impact this is going to have on services across Wrexham over the years to come.
“When I checked the attendance at these budget workshops, I noted that Cllr Gregory had failed to attend any of them.
“I now suggest to him he puts a motion to council and not conduct the debate through the media.
“What is of concern is the impact this is having on the staff working in the mayor’s office and I urge Cllr Gregory to bring this matter to chamber for proper debate.”
Cllr Rogers said there had been a number of “misconceptions” put into the public domain such as the mayoress having a budget towards her clothing,
But Cllr Gregory hit back, saying he intends to bring the issue forward for debate but only once he had submitted the Freedom of Information (FOI) request he needed in order to obtain al the necessary information on mayoral spending.
Cllr Gregory said: “I am deeply, deeply shocked by this (Cllr Rogers’ comments).
“I do want a debate about this but I won’t be forced into it until I have all the information.”
Cllr Rogers said Cllr Gregory’s request for information was not made until after the deadline for submitting a motion to council had passed.
He said: “A number of people have requested similar information under FOI, which is in the process of being collated, and it will all be released as soon as that exercise is complete.”
Cllr Gregory insisted he did not want to scrap the mayoral role, but did feel that too much money was being “squandered on pomp and ceremony” while taxpayers footed the bill for “essential” community services.
Cllr Gregory also said remarks about his budget workshop attendances were “below the belt” given he had received permission to be absent because of illness.