Mayor defends cost of his team

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THE Mayor of Doncaster has vigorously defended expenditure on his own staff and more than £500,000 a year on council communications.

Peter Davies paid tribute to the six people who help run the mayor’s and chief executive’s offices and said they were essential to do the job properly.

The issue was raised at a Doncaster Council meeting by Coun Craig Sahman, who asked: “How many support staff, including communications staff, support the Mayor and Cabinet, and what is their total cost?”

Mr Davies said there were two people each working for himself, the Cabinet and chief executive Rob Vincent, costing a total of £315,000 a year.

He said: “This is normal for a council of this size – there were nine for the previous mayor.

“If you do the job properly you will be out most days on meetings and site visits.

“I am not the type to do clerical work on top of all the work I do otherwise.

“You will find this is no picnic – it’s hard work and you’ve got to be on the job all the time.

“It’s time people got real about what this job is all about.

“Whoever does the job needs support and I can’t manage without it.”

Mr Davies disclosed the council’s communications and marketing department, staffed by 14.5 people, costs £555,000 a year in salaries and pension contributions.

He stressed they did not work directly for the mayor and were not allowed to promote political matters.

One of his first decisions on being elected as mayor in June 2009 was to get rid of the council’s free newspaper.