COUNCILLOR CAPERS December 1st- 5th.

Afternoon of Tuesday 1st December was spent on a Wardens Services “Call In”.  Sufficient Labour cllrs has challenged the Executive’s decision to change the policy on how the Council employs its wardens and demanded a re-think.  After a series of tenant/member/officer workshops held across the county, the collated views had been drawn together into recommendations that were far reaching & no whole package for change had been worked out.  Because some wardens had to live on the job in Council property, Management felt that this was no longer considered productive and good applicants were backing away. The patchy consultation process has created unease amongst residents and some members felt that tenants had been hand picked to attend the workshops and thus put forward the Management view! (Surely not)  Others complained that despite the many workshops, only a fraction of the tenants had been able to find places to have a say. I felt we needed to know more of future plans before the warden decision could be finally agreed.  Although other meetings and the like were being scheduled for the New Year, this early Executive decision was putting the cart before the horse.  The paper arguing the Executive’s point is premature argued the knowledgeable Cllr Patrick Heesom.  He argues that our duty is firstly to council tenants and it is not right, because money is tight, to spread the workload of wardens so thinly that no one benefited properly.  Now residents feared that all wardens would be removed.  The situation obviously needed careful management or we would have a major crisis of confidence among the most vulnerable of our tenants.  I had had to leave before the end to accompany the Chairman but I felt the full Council should be allowed to debate the issue.   85 tenants should not speak for the majority.  Happily, that was the decision in the end. Saltney Spectacular. My early departure from the “Call In” was to accompany Chairman Legg to the   Mayor of Saltney’s Christmas event which had been organised by Ann Lloyd’s enthusiastic deputy mayor Veronica Gay and it was a real, thumping good Christmas bonanza.  The borrowed elderly open top bus from tourist duty in Chester had been fitted it up with a fake snow machine & Xmas bright lights festooned the ancient frame. A sharp cold snap made travel on the open top daunting but the Lord Mayor of Chester, Saltney Mayor and Chairman Legg and I braved the elements as it took off at snail’s pace with a huge gaggle of children following behind on foot. We had been promised snow & snow we got, all over the front seats in fact as the keen wind changed direction and spewed copious flurries of most realistic fake snow over the passengers.  An impressive crowd waited outside Saltney Social Club and a light bedecked sledge arriving from the other end of town met the snow spewing bus that continued to pump its flakes as the four school choirs lined up to entertain the expectant crowds. After a cheery performance from the Saltney schools and much hand clapping to keep the circulation going,  it was all inside the Social Club for a glass of much awaited mulled wine.  The Chain Gang hovered in anticipation of a warming drink but sadly the Christmas goblins must have supped the lot as it was no longer on offer we were informed by an apologetic deputy mayor. Saltney had never seen anything like this before & we were all truly impressed by all the hard work and planning that had gone into the event.   “We get it right next year” she explained.  As we mingled with citizens of Saltney & queued to thank our host Cllr Ann Lloyd in the cold night, the congratulatory remarks about the event were buzzing.  Little Saltney proved itself a worthy host and their Christmas lights, spectacular shooting stars on all the lamp posts were the finishing touch of what was a really enjoyable Prelude to Christmas celebration.

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