Criticism for commissioners brought in to oversee running of Northants County Council

One Angel Square in Northampton
One Angel Square in Northampton

The commissioners appointed by the Government to oversee the running of Northamptonshire County Council have come under fire from councillors.

Tony McArdle and Brian Roberts were parachuted into the failing county council last month (May) after a damning Government report found that the council was not operating properly or offering value for money to residents.

However the experienced pair, who have many years of local government experience, have been criticised by councillors from all three of the political parties that make up Northamptonshire County Council.

They say the commissioners are not making themselves available to those who want to speak with them and say they should attend important council meetings.

Neither attended yesterday’s (June 21) full council meeting at County Hall, which saw many heated debates as the councillors rowed over the future of the libraries service and also motions about crime and a new school opening in Northampton later this year.

Labour Cllr John McGhee, who represents Corby’s Kingswood ward, said: “I fail to see how they are helping us when we are in such a financial mess.

“How much are we paying them?

“They are not helping us yet, are they?”

Conservative Andre Gonzalez de Savage said the commissioners should have attended so they could understand the issues and the passions surrounding the future of the council.

Liberal Democrat councillor Dennis Meredith said he had asked to meet the commissioners.

The councillor, who represents the Talavera ward in Northampton, said: “I’m very disappointed.

“I have had an email reply to say they can meet me for 15 minutes as they are very busy.

“I’m a busy councillor.”

Leader of the Labour opposition Bob Scott also questioned whether the commissioners had any plans to meet all councillors as a group.

Council leader Matt Golby said “The commissioners’ door was not always open but could be opened on appointment.”

The two commissioners are currently working just two days a week at NCC.

Mr McArdle, who comes to the role after leading Lincolnshire County Council for many years, is being paid £800 a day and Mr Roberts is being paid £700 a day.