Metro Mayor branded ‘disgraceful’ for not answering questions

March 11 2019
Metro Mayor branded ‘disgraceful’ for not answering questions

COUNCILLORS have blasted metro mayor Tim Bowles as “disgraceful” for failing to appear before them to answer questions about the future of the region.

The West of England Combined Authority’s overview and scrutiny committee demanded the mayor, along with the leaders of its three constituent councils, be summoned to appear before them having not shown up over the last year.

The call came as members, tasked with providing oversight of Weca’s proposals, expressed anger at being asked to scrutinise a “glossy document with no details or timelines that they could scrutinise” outlining the organisation’s 2019/20 business plan.

After the meeting Mr Bowles, who is also a Winterbourne parish councillor, promised to discuss the request with Bristol’s mayor and the leaders of South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset councils, which comprise the combined authority.

Tim Ball, a Lib Dem B&NES councillor, said: “We get very frustrated at not seeing the lead executive members of Weca at all.

The officers here unfortunately take the flack because they come before us on a regular basis.

The metro mayor certainly hasn’t come to our meetings this year. He has only been to one meeting. That is disgraceful, for an elected representative to not turn up at a scrutiny panel. I’ve invited him numerous times.

He needs to come here at least once a year to lay out his programme with the other three members, then we can look at what we need to scrutinise. We need to question them quite clearly on how they’re going to move that programme forward.”

Those criticising the South Gloucestershire politician also included fellow Conservative Liz Richardson.

The B&NES councillor told fellow members: “We’ve sat here for two years, we’re a scrutiny panel.

We’re not here to look at the glossy stuff.

It’s fine to have the officers presenting the reports but we should at least once a year have the leaders and the metro mayor here.”

Afterwards, Mr Bowles responded to the criticism by saying: “We all need to work together for the benefit of the region and I will discuss the opportunity for the leadership to attend scrutiny with the other leaders within the combined authority.”