My colleague John Dodd has been active pursuing the Dowd Gravytrain. John is a member of the ITA and along with other Lib Dems has raised these issues over many years. Here is his latest salvo:
Cllr John Dodd Slams Labour ”Gravy Train” on Merseytravel
Cllr John Dodd, the Sefton Council Liberal Democrat representative on Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority (Merseytravel) welcomed the U-turn by Labour Councillors on Liverpool City Council to stop claiming multiple allowances on Merseytravel and back the Lib Dem calls for councillor allowances to be set by an independent panel.
Cllr Dodd said ”Liverpool City Labour Councillors agreed to claim only one allowance each in advance of an independent panel being set up.” The U-turn, which could save Council Tax payers £25,000, comes just weeks after the same Labour councillors rejected Lib Dem calls for independent scrutiny. Cllr Dodd went on to say ”Merseytravel is the only local authority in the country where councillors are allowed to set their own pay and have created 31 paid positions to be shared between 13 Labour councillors on Merseytravel”. Cllr Dodd also said that “Labour Councillors in Liverpool have been forced to face the public anger at their allowances scandal, and have finally been shamed into taking action.” Cllr Dodd added “It's time for the Chairman of Merseytravel, Sefton Labour councillor Cllr Mark Dowd, who earns £48,000 from Merseytravel to take the lead from his colleague Cllr Dean, a Liverpool City councillor and deputy chairman of Merseytravel and stop claiming more than one Special responsibility allowance (SRAs) on Merseytravel. Cllr Dowd, instead of claiming Special Responsibility Allowances for the post as Chair of Merseytravel, Chair of Rail Services and Chair of Policy and Resources Committees, you could do the decent thing for the residents of Sefton. Come on, Cllr Mark Dowd !. Cllr Dodd said ”research shows that the transport authority pays Councillors more than other transport bodies”. Merseytravel is the only travel authority in the country that has not set up an independent allowances panel. Instead, members vote for their own pay.
At the Annual Meeting of the Transport Authority, Cllr Dodd remarked “After the MPs expenses scandal, it’s amazing that Labour Councillors think they can get away with setting their own salaries, and also claim multiple allowances for attending meetings. When the public see over 30 paid jobs created and shared between just 13 Labour Councillors, they must think the transport authority is running a gravy train. Merseytravel costs more than any other transport authority”.