Cllr Mark Dowd, a Labour councillor on Sefton Council, is paid £54,000 a year to be Chairman of the Integrated Merseyside Transport Authority. This is on top of his £9,000 councillors allowance.
A Conservative councillor on the authority, Cllr Chris Blakeley, had proposed a motion to reduce the IMTA allowances – but it was voted down by Labour. The "Democratic Representation and Management Costs" item of IMTA's budget rosefrom £641,000 to £931,000 in a single year from 2008/09 to 2009/10. Plus net Corporate Magament Costs rose from £2.34 million to £3.5 million over the same period.
Cllr Dowd says he "often works 12 or 14 hour days" as Chairman of IMTA. Hmmm. Thatwould imply he had an executive role. But the body already has a Chief Executive paid £149,470 a year – which is more than the Prime Minister. Cllr Dowd attendance record as a councillor isn't great. I could find no record of how many ITMA meetings he has. His brother is also a Labour councillor Cllr Peter Dowd, the Deputy Leader of the Council.
Cllr Mark Dowd has complained that Government cuts to IMTA are "vicious" and "financial savagery." His team of press officers have been keenly trying to get his message across.
Yet the response of IMTA to its reduced subsidy has been to increase toll charges. They had already hiked the levy on the Council Taxpayers of Knowsley, Liverpoool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral last year by £4.6 million. That is the wrong response. That should look first at cutting their costs.