THE STAR CHAMBER FLOURISHES IN FLINTSHIRE

As September arrived, the Adjudication Panel circus rolled back into the county and set up camp again in 4star Village Hotel Ewloe. The panel require only the best facilities. Its been Northop Country Club, the Beaufort Arms and Sychden Hall. The usual panellists; judge Hywel James, fellow lawyer Peter Davies and a Susan Hurds, who is something to do with the NHS gathered together with pens poised again. My spell checker threw up a very rude word when it found “Hurds” This is the one panel member that the suggested alternative word is not appropriate.

The Chairman is the sleek, imperious chap who takes no prisoners when demanding answers and looks as if he jogs. His physic is in total contrast with his “henchpersons”who flank either side of the panel table. Both are very proportionate and are suspected members of the pork pie club. I was impressed to see Peter Davies in jogging gear heading purposefully towards the front door after a heavy hearing. In green sweatshirt and white shorts, he created quite a dash. A man on another mission I thought other that his usual agenda of asking tricky question of star witnesses, this time: Patrick Heesom. I was given the same probing treatment by Peter Davies when I appeared before this panel months ago as Patrick’s witness. I wondered at one stage who was actually cross examining me, the ombudsman’s barrister or the panel member; so keen was Mr D to show off his own interrogatory skills.

Cllr Heesom evidence is now being disected over the weeks by a quiet spoken Mr Hughes for the Ombudsman. One exchange focussed on two statements by former Flintshire Director and her loyal handmaiden. Both women had not performed well I understand when they gave their evidence in chief as both failed to come up to proof. In Blogs passim, I’ve expressed my contempt for that Director. She has cost me and Patrick Heesom dearly in worry, stress and in my case, lots of money in legal fees. She was one of the two witnessed who assisted an Adjudication Panel in wrongly convicting me for misleading the Ombudsman.

Furthermore, this Authority has run up big bill too on her the way to early retirement! The exit packages of two staff who were not compulsorily retired was £162.125 & £90.934. Drilling down for more detail may take some effort! These sorts of information are well protected. The cost to this Authority in legal fees associated with the Heesom case may also be hard to unearth. As we are all picking up the bill, we have a right to know! The Ombudsman doesn’t like discussing money.

He refused to tell me the cost of my case 2009/10. Flintshire’s Audit committee has a duty to ensure taxpayer’s money is into squandered.

A week ago, as stated Sychdyn Hall became the tribunal venue. Amongst the tapestries of rampant lions and unicorns with autumnal creeper masking the stone windows, the panel, the acoustic team and all the main players took up battle again. An email on a housing exchange issue as far back as 2007 was unhelpful to Patrick. He gave his explanation but had his back to the wall and I thought how unfair. The writer had never given evidence to support or deny the accuracy of her (damaging) note. How can this be justice? Normal rules of evidence required in other courts just do not apply in Welsh Adjudication Tribunals.

Patrick Heesom foolishly described himself as a “wheeler dealer politician”. Our heavyweight panel member pounced of course, asking;“What do you mean between pure and wheeler dealer”? Describe yourself? Was this yet a further attempt to nail the witness ? Surely not! As Cllr Heesom’s medical advisers have dictated how long Cllr Heesom can remain in the box, the hearing could take a long time to complete. Not only is cost an issue, should Patrick be found guilty even of the smallest discretion, then elected members might as well resign en bloc.

The whole purpose of being elected to represent the public will be at risk. We employ the officers. We must be able to challenge poor performances! No one else can

If the Panel finds against Cllr Heesom that opens the way for anarchy as any unscrupulous officer who is under performing or bears a grudge is challenged by a member, then that councillor is vulnerable for allegations of bullying. Under this aggressive authority of a Despot, the Welsh Ombudsman, and his ‘catch all codes’ await to trap a member even though a recent stated case has blown up in the Ombudsman’s face. A cllr appealed against being found guilty by an Adjudication Panel. He appealed and won. The verdict had been set aside under Article 10, right to free speech. (Hooray for that cllr).

Patrick has served his community diligently for more than 20 years. He holds regular surgeries; he takes the old folk to Asda for tea. He has spent countless hours at County Hall, is a walking encyclopedia on planning and housing issues and never fails to help anyone who seeks his advice. If he loses he will become bankrupt. We have lost his good brain and healthy influence for months once the hearings began to take over his life. He is under medical care such is the stress! He could be barred from holding public office for five years. The cost of any appeal will be a further imposable drain on him.

To be found guilty will affect every councillor across Wales. Compare Cllr Heesom’s public service to that of the Ombudsman. A Quango man who slides into prestigious jobs in Wales and even when one post collapses, another immediately opens up for him. The judgemental and biased PSOW holds too much authority over defenceless political servants. Codes of Conduct have been scrapped in England. In Wales, the system is obscene. No price can be put on the 4 years cllr Heesom’s life has been on hold. If the cost hits £4million, as suspected, the Ombudsman and colleagues will have much to explain.

CHINESE LANTERNS.
Another destructive element struck Flintshire recently in the form of a Chinese lantern which burnt a hole in a conservatory of a Ewloe resident. Her house was close to being set on fire when the lantern burnt through the conservatory roof. Months ago, full council debated how to deal with this stupid craze. The wire frame can bes ingested by livestock which leads to a painful death and huge cost to farmers I could not believe what I read in the Flintshire Chronicle. Community safety manager for North Wales Fire & Safety Rescue comments. Amazing! “ These lanterns are popular & present a significant hazard.” quote, .the lantern burned though her conservatory while she was asleep at night”. Quote, “Take account of the prevailing wind & ensure the lantern will burn out before it can land on nearby property or farmland- they can also be a danger to crops or farmland and livestock” End quote.

This complacency is just incredible. No one can control a lantern once airborne. The fire safety manager needs to consider his position. Fellow ward member,Dave Mackie tells me that the the days of those ‘flying life threatens’ may be numbered if the topic is debated by Welsh Government. Lets hope Cardiff does something useful and get them outlawed in Wales. The nasty experience of the scorched roof and worse could easily happen again. If Welsh Government does introduce legislation, I hope it’s more sensible than the act that produced the Welsh Ombudsman

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