New Havering cabinet members ‘have abandoned ethics’

Cllr Ray Morgon

Cllr Ray Morgon - Credit: Archant

Havering’s newest cabinet members have been accused of “abandoning their ethics and philosophy” by accepting £29k administration posts.

Cllr Ron Ower

Cllr Ron Ower - Credit: Archant

Cllr Clarence Barrett and Cllr Ron Ower, now of a Residents’ Association splinter group, were given cabinet positions last week, at a council meeting during which both opposed trimming their allowances to £20,000.

This week main opposition leader Cllr Ray Morgon rounded on former colleagues Cllr Barrett and Cllr Ron Ower, now members of the East Havering Residents’ Group, a junior partner in the Tory-led coalition administration.

He said: “The whole reason they did what they did - it was for the money and the position they were going to get.

“They’ve really abandoned the ethics and philosophy they’ve stood for over the last years.

Cllr Clarence Barrett

Cllr Clarence Barrett - Credit: Archant

“And from the feedback I’ve been getting, residents in Upminster and Cranham are very unhappy about what’s been done.”

At last Wednesday’s extraordinary council meeting, councillors approved a package of allowances that cut pay for special responsibility posts including cabinet positions by 12 per cent.

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The move followed rejection of an amendment from Cllr Morgon’s Residents’ Group that would have seen cabinet allowances trimmed 43 per cent, to £20,000.

Cllr Barrett, now cabinet member for financial management, and Cllr Ower, who holds the portfolio for housing company development and oneSource management, both voted against the proposal.

Cllr Barrett said the cut in special responsibility allowances saved the council £150,000 at a time when it needs to find £60million to balance the books.

“This is the biggest challenge the council has ever faced and we need to get it right,” he said.

“The ethics and philosophy of the Residents’ Association is to put people before politics and that is exactly what I am doing.

“If I can help meet that challenge as the Residents’ Association cabinet member for financial management, then I shall not flinch from that responsibility.

“It’s not about ‘money and position’, it’s about ‘people and responsibility’.”

Cllr Ower said: “I’m an RA [Residents’ Association] councillor - I’ll always be a RA councillor.

“I just want to bring things to the table rather than stand on the sidelines.”

He added he still respected Residents’ Group councillors including Cllr Morgon “as colleagues” and did not wish to fall out.

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Residents’ Association dissenters defend decision following voters’ criticismExtraordinary council meeting passes controversial allowances motion

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