Peterborough squatters demand an apology for councillor remarks

17:46 Monday 15th June 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

CHRIS MANN: An update now on the Peterborough squatters, who last week moved to a third location in Priestgate. They claim to be holding an austerity protest, and today entered the Town Hall in the city, looking for an apology from the (Deputy) Leader of the Conservatives, who’s branded them ‘criminals’ during a recent interview on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. Their (Deputy) party Leader of course is councillor Wayne Fitzgerald. His argument, if you break in to a building, you’re breaking the law. And Wayne joins me now. Hello Wayne.
WAYNE FITZGERALD: Hi Chris How are you?
CHRIS MANN: Yes good. Yes thank you. Tell us what’s happened today.
WAYNE FITZGERALD: Oh well just to clarify, what I said is I have no proof that any individual in the group that was occupying Aqua House actually physically broke in. What I mean to say is anybody who breaks into a building to gain entrance, it’s a criminal act in the law. That’s that. And I stand by that, and I think most people would recognise the fact is if you enter a building unlawfully you should be punished for it. And that is my view.
CHRIS MANN: So what happened earlier?
Continue reading “Peterborough squatters demand an apology for councillor remarks”

Peterborough Conservatives predict a coalition of the willing to rule the city

07:40 Monday 11th May 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: Quite a lot of upsets in general as the results of the General Election came out on Friday, with the Labour Party doing a lot worse than many people thought, the LibDems doing far worse than many people thought. You had Nigel Farage resigning,. You had Nick Clegg resigning. You had Ed Miliband resigning. And then of course Marco Cereste the former Leader of Peterborough City Council lost his council seat. The person likely to step into councillor Cereste’s shoes will be chosen this week. He lost his seat of course in the local elections. Here’s what he said on Friday afternoon.
MARCO CERESTE: Of course I would rather have been the victor, but you know, God’s will is God’s will and that’s what he’s decided. He’s probably got a different path for me to take.
DOTTY MCLEOD: So a new Conservative Leader will now be elected. Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald of Peterborough City Council joins me now to talk more about this. Morning councillor Fitzgerald. .. So what happens next? Because at the moment the Conservative Group and indeed the City Council is without a permanent Leader.
Continue reading “Peterborough Conservatives predict a coalition of the willing to rule the city”

Tough at the top – Wayne Fitzgerald on executive pay at Peterborough City Council

town_square17:22 Wednesday 18th February 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

CHRIS MANN: It’s been a big day for the restructuring of local government backroom staff in our county, with the two biggest authorities merging resources in what is a landmark deal. Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council have announced the formal merging of some senior jobs in the past couple of hours. Peterborough are claiming it will save them half a million pounds. Let’s bring in one of the men behind this, councillor Wayne Fitzgerald. Hello Wayne.
WAYNE FITZGERALD: Hi. Good evening Chris.
CHRIS MANN: A member of the Employment Committee on Peterborough City Council, and also Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care. Just in round terms, tell us why you’ve had to do this and how tough it’s been. Continue reading “Tough at the top – Wayne Fitzgerald on executive pay at Peterborough City Council”

Council in crisis awards large payrises to top staff

07:45 Friday 21st November 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: Yesterday there was a big meeting of Peterborough City Council’s Employment Committee. They were discussing the wages of senior officers. Some of them earn as much as £140,000 a year, and some top council staff received pay increases of up to 30% earlier this year. They were taking on new roles. The decision to award these increases has now been revisited. Nick Sandford is the Leader of Peterborough’s Liberal Democrats. Nick, what happened at the meeting last night?
NICK SANDFORD: Well just to put the context, earlier this year back in February there was a private meeting of the Employment Committee, at which these very large pay rises of up to 33% were pushed through. When this became public at Full Council there was complete outrage, and it was decided to refer it back to the Employment Committee. I proposed at the Employment Committee not that we try and unpick all these increases, but that we ask each of the senior officers earning over £100,000 to take a small reduction in their salary.
DOTTY MCLEOD: So when we say small, how big?
NICK SANDFORD: I wasn’t really concerned. I quoted a figure of around about 15%, but it could be 10%, it could be only 5%. But that was rejected by the Committee.
DOTTY MCLEOD: OK. Why are you so worried about these wages? Do you just think it’s too much money?
NICK SANDFORD: We’ve currently got a situation where senior officers, some of them earn up to £170,000. And as I said earlier, some of them had increases of 20% and 30%. One actually had the increase backdated for a three year period, so got £30,000 on top of that. That’s at the same time that the Council is cutting its adult social care budget by 16%. People who are receiving council tax benefit are going to have that reduced by about 40%. So I think all that I was saying was these senior officers on these really high salaries, we should ask them to share in just a small amount of the pain that people on the smallest incomes are having to feel.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Let’s bring in councillor Wayne Fitzgerald who is Peterborough City Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care. Councillor Fitzgerald, why did you reject this idea?
Continue reading “Council in crisis awards large payrises to top staff”

Peterborough 2014 Election Roundup – New Kid on the Block

shoal17:08 Friday 23rd May 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

[B]EN STEVENSON: An historic night, not just for UKIP. As well there’s the Tories, who have lost overall control of the City Council for the first time since 2001. There’s a new kid on the block. UKIP created history by winning their first seat in the city, and then followed it up moments later with their second, and then their third. UKIP struck in Paston, Bretton North and in Orton Longueville, and it could have been more. A few high profile Conservatives were given a shock as well. Cabinet Adviser Janet Goodwin lost her seat to UKIP. Wayne Fitzgerald needed a recount to survive in the West Ward, and there were also recounts in Eye and Thorney. The Libdems and the Liberal groups both held on to their seats, and there were re-elections for three members of the Independent Group.



Lee Hammered In Peterborough Leadership Challenge

marco07:15 Wednesday 8th May 2013
Bigger Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

[R]ONNIE BARBOUR: The Leader of the City Council in Peterborough has survived a challenge for his position from his own Deputy. Marco Cereste won the vote to be Leader of the Conservative Group last night, beating Matthew Lee. Johnny D. has more for us. Morning to you Johnny. (OB)
JOHN DEVINE: Good morning Ronnie. Yes. Good morning everybody. I’m outside Peterborough Town Hall on Bridge Street Ronnie, which last night was the scene of another dramatic night in Cambridgeshire politics. Just days after the King of Cambridgeshire Nick Clarke was dethroned in the elections, there was a chance that the Peterborough Leader was going to meet a similar fate Ronnie. Every year the Conservatives in Peterborough have their annual group meeting, and the councillors within that group have the opportunity to stand for certain positions. Last week the current Deputy Matthew Lee shocked us all by announcing he’ll be taking on Marco in the Leadership vote. But in the end the Tory group stood behind their Leader and gave him a huge vote of confidence, voting in favour of him by twenty four votes to eight, which is quite a big margin.
RONNIE BARBOUR: This type of Leadership challenge, has it happened before Johnny? Continue reading “Lee Hammered In Peterborough Leadership Challenge”

Peterborough Council 2013 Budget Passed

energy07:40 Thursday 7th March 2013
Bigger Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

[P]AUL STAINTON: Boy was it a feisty Council meeting at the Town Hall in Peterborough last night. Councillors were gathering to vote on the Budget proposals for the next twelve months, which included the equivalent of 63 full-time redundancies, a reduction in adult social care services, and cuts to the city’s playcentres. The proposal was passed, but only just. 29 voted in favour, and 25 councillors against, with one councillor abstaining. But listeners to the show contacted us this morning saying that the meeting had to be adjourned at one point because the debate became too heated. Continue reading “Peterborough Council 2013 Budget Passed”