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York's cash strapped Council Leader

james alexander

4:59pm 22nd June 2011
(Updated 5:55pm 23rd June 2011)

The newly installed leader of a cash-starved council has been forced to ask for an advance on his wages via Facebook.

Political rivals have questioned James Alexander's leadership credentials after he was given a £200 advance following the request to chief executive Kersten England.

Councillor Alexander, 29, who earns more than £30,000 a year after becoming York Council's leader last month, made a frank admission about his financial predicament on his Facebook page on Saturday.

The Labour councillor admitted he has two £1,500 overdrafts maxed out, had spent his last tenner and had been unable to afford to buy his nearest and dearest birthday presents.

The Liberal Democrat group's leader, Carol Runciman, called into question her political opponent's suitability to lead the council while multi-million-pound cutbacks are being imposed.

She said:

"You have to ask whether Councillor Alexander is capable of overseeing the council's budgets when he can't seem to manage his own finances.

'A lot of council employees are also struggling in the current economic climate. But we cannot have every staff member asking for an advance, it would cause chaos."

Councillor Alexander was adamant the advance was a one-off, and maintained he was entitled to the cash for several days of work at the end of last month after being sworn in as the leader on May 26th 2011.

Minster FM's Tracy Gee has spoken to James Alexander:

The exchange has now been removed from Mr Alexander's Facebook page.

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