PROPOSALS for a massive shake-up which would see the number of Dudley councillors cut by a third have been rejected.
At a meeting of the full council last night (July 14) a motion from UKIP group leader, Cllr Ken Turner, was thrown out by a majority of ten votes.
Cllr Turner had proposed a reduction of the number of councillors for each of the authority’s 24 wards from three to two.
His plan also included a change the timing of elections for the authority to once every four years where voters would choose a councillor for every seat.
Currently a third of members are elected at each election to serve four years, meaning the borough has local elections in three years out of every four.
Councillor Turner says modern communication technology means politicians can work much faster and get through a greater workload so three councilors per ward is unnecessary and a cut would save cash.
The plan had the support of the council’s Conservative group but was sure to be defeated when the leader of the majority Labour group, David Sparks, gave it the thumbs down.
Cllr Sparks said: “I am not against the principle of the reduction of membership but Dudley is a metropolitan district and all of them have the same system. If there is going to be change there should be change in all of them.
“This is not right to do this.”
Dudley’s leader added when Electoral Commission decided 72 councilors was an appropriate number for Dudley the borough’s population was 305,000 and would be unlikely to change its mind because since then the population had increased to 317,000.
He also argued there would be little cash saved under the scheme because if there were just two councillors per ward they would need to be paid to work full-time.