Politics ““ It’s a Dirty Job But Someone Has To Do It ““ Don’t They? Part 2
Ahead of last Thursday’s Full Council meeting I got the chance to interview Cllr Roy Naylor, until recently a full and active member of the City Independent Group, now non-aligned.
I have always been impressed by Roy, he’s a man of principle and not a harder working councillor can be found.
Roy dedicates his life to his Blurton ward and is committed to helping the residents of the area.
He has embraced new media and the people of Blurton are regularly updated on his activities through his impressive blog site, FaceBook and his informative Twitter feed.
The ward of Blurton used to be represented solely by members of the City Independent Group until the surprise election of Labour’s Margaret Barber this summer.
There is no doubt following my discussions with people who live in the area of Blurton that Roy is the man on the beat, which is understandable given his former Group Leader’s Cabinet responsibilities.
The duo complemented each other until their recent parting of the ways.
Cllr Roy Naylor was unceremoniously booted out of the City Independent Group for being in arrears with his council tax and the rent on his council home.
Roy doesn’t deny the claim, far from it, he openly admits to having financial problems. I myself have been aware of rumours surrounding Cllr Naylor’s financial predicament for some 12 months now.
Those rumours have been circulating around the corridors of the Civic Centre for even longer according to some sources.
So it really does beg the question, why expel him from the group now, after all this time? Other members of his group knew that Roy had difficulties, including Group Leader Cllr Brian Ward.
The answer may lie in the fact that just before his undignified expulsion; Roy informed his Group leader that it was intention to fight the election in the newly formed Blurton West & Newstead Ward, an area that he is both known and enormously well respected.
This has allegedly angered Cllr Ward who wants to fight the ward himself and sources have informed me that as Group Leader, he believes that the “Ëœpecking order’ allows him first choice.
Now, if as the CIG claim, that the reason that Roy was shown the door was down to his financial differences, why did his group not do their best to help their mate and valued group member out?
Cllr Randy Conteh has recently vacated the Police Authority Committee, a position that pays handsomely, why was Cllr Naylor not considered for this position? Surely the financial reward would have help his position greatly and would enable him to clear his arrears faster.
Cllr Naylor liaises with the police particularly well and has a great understanding of how the Police operate within our city.
So, who did replace Cllr Conteh on the Police Authority? Non other than CIG Group Leader, Cabinet Member and fellow ward Councillor Brian Ward. How much does all that earn Cllr Ward?
Over £33,000 per year. Not bad all things considered.
How much does Cllr Naylor now earn for holding the fort in the Blurton ward and working tirelessly for the residents of his ward?
Just over £11,000 per year.
I feel a little uncomfortable talking about another man’s finances, but do you know what? Not as uncomfortable as Cllr Ward should feel for disclosing a fellow councillors personal circumstances to the media.
A council source has informed me that the matter may be referred to the Standards Committee and that it doesn’t have to be Cllr Naylor that makes the initial report.
As the same source said to me on the phone this week, “Ëœwith friends and colleagues like that, who needs enemies’?
It has also been suggested to me that Cllr Naylor may well be priced out of fighting the next election due to the cost of mounting a campaign.
I have been assured by a number of sources that Roy will not be short of offers to help, or indeed of offers of membership to other groups.
Now that would be an interesting ““ top of the bill clash ““ between Roy and his former group leader Brian Ward.
Especially if the full weight of a mainstream party is behind the former CIG member. But that is just me speculating, although, I may just nip to the bookies to put a couple of quid on.
What isn’t speculation however is the rise and substantial fall of the City Independent Group.
Once the second biggest group in the chamber with some 16 councillors and now reduced to just 8 and 1 of those constantly rumoured to be on the move.
There are those in the city that champion Independent politicians/groups, but the present crop isn’t that independent when you consider that they are part of a 4 way ruling coalition.
There is no doubt that the CIG are in political melt down and with the election campaign season about to start more divisions could come to light.
As for Cllr Roy Naylor, I’m sure he will keep on doing what he does best and that is to passionately represent the area of Blurton and to continue to champion causes like the Save Our Children’s Centre campaign as the kind of true Independent we can all remember.
Where’s Ann James’s number…..