Connect with us

News

Unanimous vote on mayor’s pay

Avatar photo

Published

on

“Call me what you want but I am full time mayor with a full-time commitment

“There are 168 hours in a week and for eight of them I spend sitting in front of patients.”

Those were the words of mayor Dr Nik Johnson when I interviewed him more than a year ago.

Advertisements
Pictures

He was responding to questions as to how he manages to continue working for the NHS whilst serving as mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CAPCA).

The CAPCA board was denied hearing him repeat those words day as he was – quite properly -excluded from debate over the report of an independent panel looking at his mayoralty allowance.

The independent panel had recommended a pay rise to £86,121 from next year for Dr Johnson, and it was approved unanimously by the CAPCA board.

The independent panel had recommended a pay rise to £86,121 from next year for Dr Johnson, and it was approved unanimously by the CAPCA board today

The panel noted there were “significant reasons” for recommending the increase.

They based their recommendation on a 2019 review which recommended an allowance of £80,000 per annum be payable to the mayor and that the indexation factor be set as the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Today’s report to the CAPCA board heard that the methodology used in determining the allowance was the same as used elsewhere.

Cllr Chris Boden, leader of Fenland Council said he was “uncomfortable” about the recommendation but supported it since it was an independent panel that recommended it.

He agreed it would be “exceptionally easy to make party political points” but it was inappropriate to question the panel’s recommendations.

Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald, leader of Peterborough City Council, said he was a “great advocate” of independent panels.

But he felt the template used, and the report published, was for a “typical mayor” working in the role full-time.

He said it was “well documented” the mayor works one day a week for the NHS, and it was “up to the mayor whether it considers it full-time (working for the combined authority)”.

Cllr Fitzgerald said people expected the mayor to be working a five-day week for CAPCA.

The independent panel had recommended a pay rise to £86,121 from next year for Dr Johnson, and it was approved unanimously by the CAPCA board today

“He should come out and say whether he is doing a full-time position -I am not going to make a judgement.

“I am sure the mayor works more than 37 hours a week, but he should come out and say.”

Cllr Bridget Smith, leader of South Cambs District Council, said that if she was the parent of a sick child “I would be grateful an experienced practitioner continues to work in the health service”.

Deputy mayor, Lewis Herbert, who chaired the debate, said councillors did not work a 9am to 5pm day. Often, they worked long hours either before 9am or into the evening.

Advertisements
canopyuk.com in-article

Cllr Fitzgerald added that he was “not casting aspersions on Nik – it is up to him how he chooses to justify it”.

He added: “I’m just flagging it as they will be some press interest”.

Cllr Herbert told him: “You are entitled to make comments, and you did make comments”.

Last year one former Conservative councillor, concerned that Fenland may not get investment, took to social media to express his view about the mayor continuing to work within the NHS.

“Anyone who can abandon sick and dying children wouldn’t have too much of a problem abandoning the north county,” wrote Jonathan Farmer.

Mr Farmer is a former mayor of Wisbech.

The only other criticism has been from Fenland and Cambridgeshire councillor Steve Tierney, also of Wisbech.

He tweeted – misleadingly – of hearing “increasing rumours that Mayor Dr Nik Johnson is going for a huge hike in his mayoral allowance.

“Huge pay rise during costs of living crisis and after loving millions of pounds of government funding? Surely not”.

Mayor Johnson, of course, had no part whatsoever in the setting up or findings of the independent panel.

In my interview with him last year, he said he sees himself “as the doctor elected to be mayor”.

He continues to conduct eight hours weekly of “standard outpatient care” and to go back and enjoy “what I have done for over 30 years”.

The mayor said most people had received him positively since winning the May election, recognising his “real life experience than rather than having followed a traditional political route”.

Dr Johnson said whenever he’s asked, he has been able to explain the dual roles and says explaining to people face to face has been seen nothing but a positive response.

He says working in the NHS and the cross organisational work that involves gives him “a unique take on becoming leader of the Combined Authority”.

And whilst refusing to respond to any criticisms, he says simply: “I am a children’s doctor” and maintaining his registration is important as it is for others like him who have entered politics.

He cited as an example his NHS colleague, Dr Caroline Johnson, the Conservative MP for Sleaford, who continues to work “on a flexible contract as a consultant paediatrician by North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust.

Facebook

Read More

Say NO to Sunnica campaign group has mounted a massive effort to stop the solar farm PHOTO: Say NO to Sunnica Say NO to Sunnica campaign group has mounted a massive effort to stop the solar farm PHOTO: Say NO to Sunnica
News1 day ago

Labour approve 2,500 acre Sunnica solar farm on Cambridgeshire/Suffolk border

Government also drops 9-year ban on onshore windfarms

Peterborough City Council told CambsNews: ‘Following the recent identification of poisonous hemlock plants on land at Thorpe Meadows, we have worked to restrict access to this area.’ PHOTO: Terry Harris for CambsNews Peterborough City Council told CambsNews: ‘Following the recent identification of poisonous hemlock plants on land at Thorpe Meadows, we have worked to restrict access to this area.’ PHOTO: Terry Harris for CambsNews
Peterborough City Council1 day ago

Poisonous hemlock forces closure of Thorpe Meadows, Peterborough

The signs warn visitors of ‘toxic poison hemlock on site’

Carlyle-Parker, from Wisbech, later pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, actual bodily harm and dangerous driving Carlyle-Parker, from Wisbech, later pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, actual bodily harm and dangerous driving
Crime1 day ago

Wisbech man jailed for ‘horrific attack’ on his partner whilst their child was in the car

'He put all their lives and the lives of other road users at risk'

Human trafficker suspect detained in Whittlesey told police ‘they want me? about what?’ before being advised of his rights and bundled into a police van. Human trafficker suspect detained in Whittlesey told police ‘they want me? about what?’ before being advised of his rights and bundled into a police van.
Crime1 day ago

WATCH: Human trafficker suspect held in Whittlesey on European arrest warrant

Suspect spotted speeding in Bellmans Road arrested in Sycamore Road

NewRiver Retail plan to demolish the car park to make way for a new food store but have not given details of which supermarket chain wants to move in. NewRiver Retail plan to demolish the car park to make way for a new food store but have not given details of which supermarket chain wants to move in.
News2 days ago

360-space Horsefair Wisbech car park to be demolished to make way for new store

The multi-storey car park is attached to Horsefair Shopping Centre

Recycling facilities in March are set for a £4m upgrade, after Cambridgeshire County Council agreed for a replacement. Visual of the new household recycling centre Recycling facilities in March are set for a £4m upgrade, after Cambridgeshire County Council agreed for a replacement. Visual of the new household recycling centre
Cambridgeshire County Council2 days ago

Green light for £4m recycling centre at March despite 17 per cent hike in costs

Cambridgeshire has 9 household waste recycling centres

Protect Local Peterborough (PRP) is a campaign to oppose proposals for a Township in the middle of open countryside. Protect Local Peterborough (PRP) is a campaign to oppose proposals for a Township in the middle of open countryside.
Your Views3 days ago

OPINION: ‘Fastest growing city in the UK’ is not a vision for the people of Peterborough

Fighting to prevent mass suburban sprawl in and around Castor and Ailsworth

Kuda Madondo Allison Clarke Niall James and Keith Johnson (002) Kuda Madondo Allison Clarke Niall James and Keith Johnson (002)
News3 days ago

Stagecoach East reveal ‘crème de la crème’ for Bus Driver of the Year awards

The contestants came from across Stagecoach East

Paul Bristow awaiting result of the count in Peterborough. Photo: Terry Harris Paul Bristow awaiting result of the count in Peterborough. Photo: Terry Harris
Politics3 days ago

Ex MP Paul Bristow says Tories must win back young people who voted Reform

'I’m proud to have secured £125 million for the city'

Image of what The Press will look like when complete: it set to deliver over 100,000 sq ft of fitted lab and office space through repositioning of Cambridge’s former printing press. Image of what The Press will look like when complete: it set to deliver over 100,000 sq ft of fitted lab and office space through repositioning of Cambridge’s former printing press.
Business3 days ago

Foxton, Cambridge development ‘responds to persistent shortfall in fit-for-purpose lab and office space’

New 100,000 sq ft Foxton science and innovation campus