Labour councillor Jagtar Singh Dhindsa to make formal complaint over 'shyster' comment made by Liberal Democrat Derek Scudder

Watford Observer: Labour councillor Jagtar Singh Dhindsa. Labour councillor Jagtar Singh Dhindsa.

A Watford councillor who suggested cutting the salary of the town’s mayor by more than £13,000 has been described as a "shyster".

Labour councillor Jagtar Singh Dhindsa proposed slashing the mayor’s salary from £65,738 to £52,590 to help pay for cuts in the annual budget at a full borough council meeting last night.

Councillor Dhindsa provided a list of mayors in similar authorities who earned less than Dorothy Thornhill, including those in Tower Hamlets, Salford, North Tyneside, Bedford, Mansfield, and Doncaster.

He said: "Watford has the most expensive mayor as compared to similar authorities. In fact it is well above them.

"The salary is far too high. It must reflect the reality of a non-metropolitan district council, with limited powers, lower budgets to manage and smaller populations than comparable authorities."

The mayor of Watford’s earnings are equal to the mayor of Bristol, and more than double the mayor of Torbay.

Liberal Democrat Derek Scudder accused the councillor of "déjà vu" and added: "This is someone who over the years has advocated cuts when not in power, and is happy to take increases when he was in power.

"For us to take advice from someone with that history is quite honestly astonishing. If I was asked to take advice from anybody, I wouldn’t take advice from a shyster."

Labour’s Nigel Bell asked the council’s legal officer to investigate the use of the word "shyster" and was told it was up to the chairman to decide whether the behaviour had breached proper protocol.

Chairman Steve Rackett asked councillor Scudder to apologise for using the word, which describes someone who uses unscrupulous, fraudulent, or deceptive methods in business.

Councillor Scudder said: "I thought long and hard about using it and checked the dictionary definition, and will not withdraw the word."

After the meeting Councillor Dhindsa said he would be making an official complaint.

Labour councillor Asif Khan said: "We get bluster and insults almost like UK Gold, repeats over and over again.

"The Liberals campaigned against the mayor process, yet when they are in power they are happy to take the salary. Hypocrisy.

"They resort to insults and absolute negativity when they have lost the argument."

Mayor Thornhill said: "This salary was set under Labour. This is an insult for the people of Watford who voted for the mayoral office knowing the salary and an insult to the panel who came to the decision that they did.

"Forget about me, it’s about what level of person you want as equal first citizen to the MP.

"What sort of person will come forward for the salary that you have on the table? Are we saying we want people in the public sector who are not good enough for the private sector?

"The salary is not an issue in Watford. Since I’ve been mayor we’ve saved the council millions by our prudent stewardship."

Liberal Democrat councillor Iain Sharpe said: "Labour always thought the mayor would be Labour and they haven’t quite got over that.

"The problem with the Labour group is they’ve been eating the sour grapes so long the bitterness is in their soul."

The motion was voted down.

Comments (8)

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9:59am Fri 31 Jan 14

JohnnyHornet says...

Boo Hoo, sticks and stones, what the hell is this world coming to, get on with the job you're paid to do, and quite frankly grow up, unfortunately we the electorate have to bear responsibility for electing these cretins.
Boo Hoo, sticks and stones, what the hell is this world coming to, get on with the job you're paid to do, and quite frankly grow up, unfortunately we the electorate have to bear responsibility for electing these cretins. JohnnyHornet

10:43am Fri 31 Jan 14

TRT says...

Pot vs kettle.
Pot vs kettle. TRT

10:56am Fri 31 Jan 14

Harry Caine says...

Typical Freudian "Projection" from Downhill Dorothy's minder in chief
Typical Freudian "Projection" from Downhill Dorothy's minder in chief Harry Caine

12:30pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Andrew1963 says...

Shame, the language has taken away an important question on why other elected Mayors are paid differently to Watfords equivalent - it does raise a serious point about elected member salaries. If Watford as a small authority has disproportionate mayoral salary, perhaps Eric Pickles should set allowance levels for Cllrs in England. After all central government already sets Business Rates and grants to councils, sets caps on council tax rates, etc. And remuneration for other elected representatives like MPs.
Shame, the language has taken away an important question on why other elected Mayors are paid differently to Watfords equivalent - it does raise a serious point about elected member salaries. If Watford as a small authority has disproportionate mayoral salary, perhaps Eric Pickles should set allowance levels for Cllrs in England. After all central government already sets Business Rates and grants to councils, sets caps on council tax rates, etc. And remuneration for other elected representatives like MPs. Andrew1963

12:39pm Fri 31 Jan 14

garston tony says...

She's paid more than the Mayor of Tower Hamlets? I dont know for sure but i'm pretty certain that mayor has a hell of a lot more on their plate than Dotty, this may be a handbags at dawn complaint but i'll back any campaign that calls for the cost of the mayor and her office to be cut. Its a waste of money
She's paid more than the Mayor of Tower Hamlets? I dont know for sure but i'm pretty certain that mayor has a hell of a lot more on their plate than Dotty, this may be a handbags at dawn complaint but i'll back any campaign that calls for the cost of the mayor and her office to be cut. Its a waste of money garston tony

1:12pm Fri 31 Jan 14

dontknowynot says...

these Libdems and their preparred lines you have to laugh:-
"Liberal Democrat councillor Iain Sharpe said: "Labour always thought the mayor would be Labour and they haven’t quite got over that.

"The problem with the Labour group is they’ve been eating the sour grapes so long the bitterness is in their soul.""

ohhh the Irony
these Libdems and their preparred lines you have to laugh:- "Liberal Democrat councillor Iain Sharpe said: "Labour always thought the mayor would be Labour and they haven’t quite got over that. "The problem with the Labour group is they’ve been eating the sour grapes so long the bitterness is in their soul."" ohhh the Irony dontknowynot

1:36pm Fri 31 Jan 14

dontknowynot says...

Devils advocate here
he could accuse him of having two sets of standards, (then he could be refuted or not)
but to accuse him of being a shyster is just plain WRONG
But I think you will find that Libdems don't say sorry, not for sexual harassment, nor for privatizing the NHS, or for insulting people.
The term Shyster goes way beyond the sort of spin encompassed by double standards wordplay and party sophism, if Scudder does not know that after looking the word up then he is not very smart.
Also this was said in the chamber and he has been asked to say sorry :-he should !!!!
Even the Beast of Bolsover said sorry when asked to,
"Half the Tory members opposite are crooks." he said
Withdraw remark he was asked,so he did:-
"OK, half the Tory members aren’t crooks."
So if he can withdraw the remark, and his nickname is well earned, surly Mr Scudder can.
Devils advocate here he could accuse him of having two sets of standards, (then he could be refuted or not) but to accuse him of being a shyster is just plain WRONG But I think you will find that Libdems don't say sorry, not for sexual harassment, nor for privatizing the NHS, or for insulting people. The term Shyster goes way beyond the sort of spin encompassed by double standards wordplay and party sophism, if Scudder does not know that after looking the word up then he is not very smart. Also this was said in the chamber and he has been asked to say sorry :-he should !!!! Even the Beast of Bolsover said sorry when asked to, "Half the Tory members opposite are crooks." he said Withdraw remark he was asked,so he did:- "OK, half the Tory members aren’t crooks." So if he can withdraw the remark, and his nickname is well earned, surly Mr Scudder can. dontknowynot

1:49pm Fri 31 Jan 14

dontknowynot says...

"Mayor Thornhill said: "This salary was set under Labour. This is an insult for the people of Watford who voted for the mayoral office knowing the salary and an insult to the panel who came to the decision that they did."

right then so noone can change their mind ever ever ever as it is an insult. Events mistakes and growing wisdom canm all play a part. Get a grip Dotty il Duce, of course people can change their minds its because they do that we have such things as elections
"Mayor Thornhill said: "This salary was set under Labour. This is an insult for the people of Watford who voted for the mayoral office knowing the salary and an insult to the panel who came to the decision that they did." right then so noone can change their mind ever ever ever as it is an insult. Events mistakes and growing wisdom canm all play a part. Get a grip Dotty il Duce, of course people can change their minds its because they do that we have such things as elections dontknowynot

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