The identity of the manager for Newport City is an enigma that one MS wanted the answer to at the Plenary Wednesday (Oct 4).
Welsh Conservative Natasha Asghar began by asking the Finance Minister Rebecca Evans MS how the Welsh Government ensured that local authorities are open and transparent with residents.
A simple question, which received a simple answer from Rebecca Evans MS. She said: “Legislation places many requirements on local authorities to be open and transparent. I also recently issued revised statutory guidance to support councils to engage effectively with residents. Auditors and regulators are responsible for ensuring councils are following this legislation and guidance.”
Natasha Asghar MS went on to say that a ‘huge cloud of mystery’ is hanging over Newport City Council following its recent appointment of a city manager.
The MS said that the main aim of the role was to be the first point of contact and liaison for businesses in Newport, but nobody has a clue who has taken this role, which pays between £37,000 and £41,000 a year, using taxpayers’ cash.
The MS said that she had been questioned by constituents asking how on earth businesses are supposed to contact their city manager when they don’t know who he or she is.
Natasha Asghar then said that there were rumours that a cushy job had been given to the former deputy leader of the council who lost their seat in the previous election.
The MS said that despite repeated attempts to reveal the city manager’s identity, the powers that be at the local authority have remained tight-lipped about the role.
She concluded by asking: “So, Minister, do you agree with me that Newport City Council should drop the cloak-and-dagger operation and be upfront with the people of Newport, and will you join me in urging the council to do just that?”