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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Petition calls for Copeland council leaders to resign

Copeland council’s ruling executive is under heavy fire with demands for some senior councillors to resign.

Elaine Woodburn photo
Elaine Woodburn

The Time for Change (TFC) group, which successfully campaigned for an elected mayor to run the borough, has launched a petition demanding that council leader Elaine Woodburn and her five-member executive stand down.

The group claim that the executive is “mismanaging” the cash-strapped council, after it came to light that the authority had a £1.2m underspend for the year it slashed services and closed facilities.

But Ms Woodburn told the News & Star it was the electorate who voted her and the executive in, and it should be them who votes for the new leader of the borough at next May’s mayoral election.

TFC spokeswoman Carla Arrighi said that each week of mismanagement by the current leaders was making the mayor’s job harder.

“The leaders have proven that they can’t run the council – having closed things down and stripped away services at the same time as coming in £1.2m under budget,” added Ms Arrighi.

“The ruling executive will be replaced by a new system soon – but they cannot be allowed to do any more damage, so they should go now.”

Ms Woodburn hit back saying there are reasons behind the underspend.

She has slammed the petition, claiming the group should have asked the reason behind the underspend, before launching an attack.

About £300,000 was due to 62 members of staff leaving the authority – which Ms Woodburn said was for “long-term career insecurity” reasons.

“This group has not helped with its cruel and unfair onslaught,” said Ms Woodburn.

She added that another £300,000 was identified from repairs to properties, mainly £100,000 to change the heating system at the Civic Hall. She did add however, that the £100,000 was still there and would be used if an appropriate group was successful in taking over the running of the venue.

A further £100,000 was additional income from the Government for Copeland’s nuclear role.

The petition, which gathered 250 supporters in just 24 hours, can be found at http://chn.ge/1s79Vk8.

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