JUST DOING THE JOB. 1.10.10.

“Council Capers” is off the agenda as the usual heading to my blog as I’ve just read of another case that involves a North Wales County Councillor and the Ombudsman. The now familiar scenario that a cllr wrote a blog that offended another cllr and a complaint was made to the PSO.  (Public Service Officer). The “catch all codes” that all cllrs must abide by was trundled out again.  Even by adding the caveat that the cllr was writing in a personal capacity was not enough to save him from investigation.  This time, no action was taken but the perils of blogging innocently and in a genuine attempt to inform the public of issues and difficulties of representing them are very real and frankly scary.   Mark Tami MP, received a querulous response to his letter from the PSO who was surprised that the MP had written as he had.  No, he did not know how much my tribunal had cost the taxpayer!  He did not keep such records.  Humm!  How can the Ombudsman ask WAG for yet more than the present staggering £3.5m if there is no mechanism to quantify costs of enquiries?   NEVER OUT OF THE PRESS. Klaus Armstrong Braun, he of the “eye candy” comment last summer following exposure in bulging shorts is in the news again.  A few weeks ago it was for his unprecedented meal allowances and now according to a press article, Council administration support has been curtailed because of the huge number of letters he sends out.  Staff claim that they cannot cope with his voracious need to communicate with his public.  Years before, the size of the phone bills that were costing the Council dear was yet another issue surrounding this individual? Klaus unashamedly involves himself in any matter affecting all our wards.  He considers his fellow cllrs are not up to the job so he has to step in to do it for us!  Such arrogance!  The public is entitled to seek assistance from whomever they trust but I just wonder where the right and wrong lies in this latest saga in his career?  He certainly does nothing to endear himself to the rest of us.   LET THEM EAT CAKE. On 29th September, the Council’s met to accept the Authority’s statement of accounts but I stood up and refused to do so.  Probably for the third time in succession, all detail of AD Waste, owned by the Council and brought in house in February 2008, was not included in the financial record by officers.  Three of us had sought information on the company’s accounts at every meeting and it seemed to me that if the Audit Committee is to be taken seriously and not be seen as a stooge of the auditors, someone should make a stand.  I have no criticism of the integrity of any officer.  I just feel that as the Audit Committee is entitled to call for any information, then we should get it.  By coincidence, a cake was cut the day before we examined the accounts with the crumbs being shared between Flintshire Officers & AD Waste bosses.  The AD people appeared to leave County Hall in seemingly very good mood. Why was nothing mentioned to the Audit members the following day?  I just happened to be at another meeting in the next room and saw the celebrations.  The Audit Committee was assured that the cake was not purchased from public funds? Thus, when Cllr Braun brazenly supported the statement of accounts and praised AD Waste for their activities; (thus totally contradicted my complaint of being denied AD Waste information),  and told us that he had had no difficulty in getting all the company data he wanted, we poor incompetent Audit cllrs felt disheartened.    I shall ask Klaus to give us the information that we failed to obtain.  If he delivers, he will get a big thank you.  If he is unable to provide this information, then that will be yet another nail in his coffin of credibility. BACK TO WORK. Since returning a week ago from a wonderful trip to Canada, I’ve been catching up with piles of correspondence and hundreds of emails so the TV has stayed firmly off.  But the temptation to switch on to the Ryder up was too strong on day one.  How sad the weather was so bad and play was temporarily suspended. Has eight years REALLY flown by since I was part of the new WAG Culture Committee when we persuaded National Government to allow Wales to host the Ryder Cup? I still played golf all those years ago and was really chuffed with our Committee’s stroke of genius!  However, the Rocky Mountaineer train and 7 days cruising the inside passage from Seattle to Alaska where the highlights of a once in a life time trip made catching up worth the effort. IN THE HOT SEAT. I was privileged to become the Chair of Planning in August,  I had enough time to take a lightening tour of Planning Department and say hello to staff, then I departed leaving Cllr Patrick Heesom as the vice chair to field the September and all other Planning requirements. His knowledge of the subject is phenomenal. First day back bounced me into my first meeting as the new chair.  It was an application for a quarry land fill in the usual place for such things, Buckley ward.  I was in luck as the matter has been deferred for more work which has been welcomed as no landfill is popular.  I can make no judgement and must be totally impartial whilst chairing meetings.  Members seemed pleased with how the meeting went. I’m grateful for their support as it is a tricky portfolio to handle and I have much to learn.

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