Dear Councillor Cornelius,
The people of Barnet have spoken. The London Assembly result on 3 May was a resounding rejection of the policies of your administration and of a prominent member of your leadership team.
As you were not leader at the time of the 2010 election, and most of your unpopular polices were not part of the manifesto, we ask you to consider the following proposals, with a view to changing the course of your administration.
1. Dismiss Brian Coleman from your Cabinet. Mr Coleman was decisively rejected by Barnet voters in the London Assembly election and to allow him to continue in post is an insult.
2. Reopen Friern Barnet Library immediately. This well-supported community asset cannot be replaced successfully at the Artsdepot.
3. With local traders, campaigns and stakeholders, create a parking regime that will enhance the environment and restore the fortunes of Barnet’s high streets. Parking charges should manage traffic, not rake in cash. No more hikes in parking charges; reduce charges as necessary, including in CPZs.
4. Cut the rate paid to all freelance consultants employed by Barnet by 25%. Large city firms including JP Morgan and Lloyds TSB have instituted such a policy in response to the harsh economic times. Any consultant not prepared to take a cut would be terminated as per contract terms.
5. Cut the pay of all Barnet Council staff earning more than £150,000 p.a. by 20% and staff on £100,000 - £150,000 p.a. by 10%. The savings in 4. and 5. would generate far more than the sum lost through the parking changes above.
6. Immediately halt the One Barnet outsourcing programme. Dismiss all consultants engaged on the programme.
7. Invite the council trade unions to identify savings and efficiencies within Barnet Council, at the same time protecting services, jobs, and pay and conditions. This exercise should also be opened up to Councillors and members of the public.
8. Invite members of the public to form an oversight panel, to scrutinise contracts and accounts with suppliers. Give the panel access to all council contract information, subject to signing of confidentiality agreements. The panel would report directly to the chair of the audit committee.
9. Cut all councillor allowances by 10%, to show that we really are “all in this together”, and review the excessive allowances paid to Cabinet members and Committee chairs. Learn the lessons of the upset caused to voters by the "Allowancegate" scandal.
10. Stop harassing members of the public involved in protests against discredited council policies. Work with residents, not against them, to improve Barnet. Embrace democracy!
In the year of the 100th anniversary of the Titanic, we ask: do you want to be the political equivalent of the captain who hit the iceberg?
Barnet Council has had two years of unremitting bad press as a result of policies that were not declared to the public during the 2010 election. Now the people have spoken, and we the undersigned believe that you have no choice but to listen and to change course.