Councillor accused of “acting like a dictator” after he criticises scrutiny of his decisions

A Cabinet member has been accused of “acting like a dictator” after he criticised councillors who scrutinised his decisions.

By Lucy Ashton
Tuesday, 23 April, 2019, 11:57
Coun Lewis Dagnall

Coun Lewis Dagnall, cabinet member for environment and streetscene, said the scrutiny board had cost the authority £95,000 while it looked at the decisions he had made about parking fees and permits.

But the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party have both hit back at Coun Dagnall and say they have every right to put Labour’s decisions under the spotlight.

Lib Dem Coun Paul Scriven said: “So it is now official – Labour think they have a divine right to run the council as a one-party state without any questioning of their decisions and no serious and real scrutiny.  

“In a democracy, the voices of those who didn’t vote for the majority have a right to be heard via opposition councillors calling issues in for scrutiny to make sure they are correct for the city and local tax payers.  

“Coun Dagnall is acting like a dictator, trying to dictate what happens without proper scrutiny.

“This is just another example of how the Labour Party in Sheffield has gone back to its “we know what’s best for you” way of running the council.  

“It’s really time to move away from the discredited cabinet model and bring in a more open, transparent and devolved system of democratic running of the council.”

Green councillor Douglas Johnson also criticised Coun Dagnall.

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He said: “It’s disappointing that the Labour administration attacks its own scrutiny processes when it feels under pressure.

“Scrutiny hearings are important because they are open to the public and involve cross-party councillors not just Labour.

“But we do now know the value of parking profits – at £95,000 for just a few days. The Greens’ budget proposal this year proposed a substantial reduction in the cost of residents’ parking permits.”

Coun Dagnall announced a raft of changes to meters and permits but Lib Dems councillors called the proposals in for scrutiny.

Under council rules, if five councillors object, a decision can’t go ahead until it has been considered by a scrutiny committee.

Last week Coun Dagnall told a meeting of the Cabinet: “Members have a right to call decisions in but by calling the decision in at this point it has cost £95,000 to parking services because of the delay in raising the fees.

“It also meant that initiatives such as free green parking permits for low emission vehicles and free carers permits have been delayed by a few weeks which is disappointing.”