Saturday, 25 June 2011

Could this be the future of Mayfair Library?

For many years Westminster Council has been attempting to close one of our small but much loved Libraries in the hope of achieving savings and reducing its liabilities. If not for our determined opposition to its closure, there would be no Library in the building that is currently being leased to Westminster at absolutely no charge.

We prepared ourselves to renew our fight for OUR taxes to be spent on OUR libraries upon the government's announcement that it would be making major cuts to public services with the aim of reducing the national deficit. But as the months passed, it seemed that all the preparation to fight for Mayfair was for nought as our councillors assured us that the library would not be closing this year and that exciting changes would be coming to the library service in Westminster and beyond.

Still wary of Mayfair's closure, we decided to lend our hand to any activities that would preserve our service and its wonderful staff members. It was at this point that our Councillors and Westminster Management suggested the idea of residents assisting with the rounding up of donations and volunteers to save Mayfair Library, and only Mayfair.

All the while St. James's Library which is far busier, has more customers, and is in a location with no immediate alternative was announced to be closing by mid-august. We found it strange that they would close such a busy well used library while assuring us that Mayfair would remain open.

It was at this point we realised that they were scared of us. Not all residents, but the active ones for sure.

But then we discovered what was being proposed in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (who Westminster Libraries have been meeting with on a regular basis as part of the new Tri-borough project).

'The council intends that Barons Court Library will be run as a volunteer-led service and the  Sands End Library will be relocating to a new purpose built setting still within the Sands End ward at Hurlingham & Chelsea School on Peterborough Road.'

It would seem that they've been grooming us to take over the responsibilities that we've elected them and paid them very well to manage and they didn't have the guts to tell us to our faces.

CEO's Wages equivalent to 105,381 meals on wheels or 7 school teachers

Westminster has introduced a wonderful new gadget on they're internal employee intranet-site that allows staff and managers to calculate how much their spending and savings amount to for local residents and services.

You entered a total of £ 268,723.00 (Mike More's Annual income not including benefits). In Westminster, this is the equivalent of:

390 people’s council tax (based on Band D)
105,381 meals on wheels (£2.55 is the subsidised charge for a two course hot meal)
removal of waste from 2,465 households (it costs the council on average £109 per household per year to dispose of waste
including street litter and dumped rubbish)
7 social worker(s) (based on recent vacancies and represents band 3 step 4 on Westminster’s pay scale)
7 teacher(s) (based on scale point 6 for classroom teachers working in inner London)


You might remember in a previous post we told you of the Tory councillor who said £3M was not a significant enough saving to justify a 5% reduction in wages for those earning over £100k - If you not confused yet just wait for 'Harmonisation'.