COUNCIL CAPERS 2ND – 6TH NOVEMBER 2009.

The Planning site visit bus destinations across Flintshire were as varied as ever.  First stop to a Bwlchgywn farm to view elderly buildings on which consent to return them to residential use had been requested.  An icy wind blew, seemingly colder as the previous day I was gardening in shirt sleeves.  Dropping back to Deeside, the Welsh Road, we traipsed into the massive abandonneded hangers which stood like gravestones; decaying remnants of the once bustling RAF Sealand.   They were potential business outlets but as the whole area was up for development into a more grandiose Gateway to Flintshire, length of lease to be agreed was vital. 

 

The Parade Ground stirred long gone memories transporting me back to a former life. Was it really 50 years ago that as an airwoman, I marched across such a ground as the early morning ritual of camp life?  The need to use socks for improvised gloves on one occasion as mine had been stolen and  hearing the splatter of water on concrete when an airwoman got caught short on a Remembrance Parade. Placing unwashed wet drawers on the billet radiator to dry, stayed ever with me.

 

When I joined the Met. Police in 1962; marching and drilling were part of our training.  The “camel” marchers fared badly with our hectoring instructors.

 

Back to the site visit: The humpy Mellor’s hangers were all up for conversation too.  Invented by a German we were told and in war when covered in grass, they were invisible from the ground.

 

Next stop took us high about the River Dee to another farm conversion application with stunning views across the estuary. This application was acceptable whereas the other one was not.  Two farms for conversions but applied for under different schemes.  How confusing!  Should I ever take over the chair of Planning, I will have to do some serious homework.

 

COUNCIL COCK-UP.

The Single Status saga, which had caused so much stress & confusion amongst the work force, finally came back to the cllrs who had unwittingly agreed the scheme in August.  A thoughtful reading from the Chaplain & Colin Legg’s concern that an apology had not been given set the right tone.  Labour cllrs showed cool statesmanship and politics were put to one side. We all united to find a form of word we could all accept.  Now the scheme is postponed and will be scrutinised by councillors. The seeming smugness of the top officer who had presided over/been allegedly responsible for the fiasco was worrying.  When quizzed by my Tory group an hour before, we still could not nail the reason for the cock-up!  I asked what would be the consequences if he was subject to a vote of no confidence?  The shock of such a suggestion was evident.  “Suggest who plans this takes legal advice” he retorted.  “My contract protects me!”  Is our Head of Paid Service untouchable I thought?  We had not been given any clear answers as to how we had been told only a few hundreds would be the worse scenario and yet the reality was far worse.

 

Having been on the Single Status Panel I asked the CE for an apology.  I suggested that the words ‘being misled’ or a pay model had been allegedly ‘tweaked’ were being bandied around. I said, ‘I am older, wiser and more care worn than you,’ ‘this is a very sad day for very senior management’. ‘Members have a voice and should not be ignored.’  I finished by saying, ‘I trust you will learn a lesson from today’.  When details of the meetings were posted on the Council’s web, not the slightest hint of contrition was evident.   Some staff felt they did not recognise some of the contents and felt also they might have been at another meeting.

 

A lady from my swimming club accosted me in the pool later in the week.  My daughter’s been with the Authority for over 30 years dealing with millions.  The proposed salary cut will take her down to her newly joined son’s wages and her partner and she were set to lose £25K from their household.  I recoiled in horror.  Some “misleading”!  Some “tweaking”!

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