Archive for ‘Ewloe Matters’

Last Councillor Post

I had a suspicion that once unleashed from the discipline of work, I’d become lazy. Sadly its true this last blog as a cllr, had taken forever! I drove out of County Hall for the very last time on Friday 7th July 2017, at 3pm; thus closing another chapter in my working life. I had to return my FCC laptop to County Hall & had hoped to to go through the emails in privacy as several were important and stood as a record of much of the dreadful behaviour metered out by the Chief Executive, his lamentable blunder-bus Head of Legal Services and bully boy Aaron Shotton. My decision to press for justice is still uppermost in my mind, hence the email need. Access to the FCC IPad had been withdrawn so I was reliant on my minder, who nice chap as is is, insisted on detail of what I was seeking. Knowing that my list would be would be passed up to CE, Colin Everett, I realised I had been outgunned. This is what happens in this now toxic Local Authority. The CE controls nearly everything & Aaron Shotton, the Council Leader & his henchmen work as a team. …..


Residents who live close to the former Alyn & Dee Council office, ‘Unity House’, situated in the middle of Ewloe have complained for over a year about the deterioration & the vandalism of this valuable community asset, which is still leased to Unilever until July? What seems like for ever, my ward colleague. & I have pleaded to get the building’s fabric protected & its boundaries secured. The response has been the same, “all damage & state of building is Unilever’s responsibility but it’s ok. It’s visited regularly by its security force, cameras & speakers warn intruders & police monitoring vandalism. (See blogs passim where all these concerns were previously recorded). Months ago, one officer, since left, admitted that Unilever’s lawyers were far smarter than the Local Authority’s legal team. He was keen to instruct a firm who specialises in commercial contracts & I suspected that Unilever was ignoring Asset Department officer instructions. Is this the reason why he left as he suspected Unilever’s goal was to end the lease with the minimum of costs to themselves? Was this global company too mean to pay to return the building to its original excellent condition? Surely not? The gypsy invasion started …..


Months ago, after a Council meeting, Leader of the Council. Aaron Shotton pronounced that I was a dangerous woman. He refused to elaborate,nor did he trouble to reply to my questioning email. Having assessed my dangerous status, it’s odd he whipped off an email to me in which he showed total solidarity with the Chief Executive. Via an earlier email from the head legal officer, who was writing on behalf of the CE, I learnt that I was “victimising, bullying & harrasing his chief officer who in turn had decided that he may not continue to attend any meeting when I was present so as to lessen the opportunity being further ‘attacked’. The officer earns £146K with pension rights. The head legal officer also indicated that his boss was looking at his options & one of them was to take legal action against me as his employer. This & other veiled threats had also been shared with my Group leader & of course, this sort of thing is far closer to bullying me & not the other way round. I was naturally worried & asked for reasons why the CE felt he was being bullied & I asked for the …..


Read the letter here: Letter to Alison from Unknown PDF This is not the first whistle blower who has contacted me. Over the years, there have been a few. I understand completely why the writer dare not disclose a name. The top bosses would not be amused. The letter is balanced, very factual and the writer makes several points that must concern us all as its public money that is going on consultants. I am deeply disappointed to have so many bleak home truths about how Human Resources and other staffing issues have now been verified. I can recognise the “Yes Men” but I did not know that this Authority was not taking care to hang onto its experienced staff or that speaking out is regarded as being a trouble maker. Are managers so out of touch? Are some consultants used to shift the blame? Are consultants being used with vested interests in mind such as jumping ship into the cosy world of the well-paid consultant? Are more capable staff being overlooked and less competent officers promoted as they don’t rock the boat? These are very serious and worrying allegations. This letter is not malicious. It is imploring members to …..


I’m delighted to say something nice about my Labour chums for a change, but sadly, not for long. Well done to Welsh Government & officers & Labour of Flintshire Council for assisting in the £7 million awarded by Toyota to power up the Deeside plant to build the next generation of hybrid engines. A hefty Welsh Government grant also eased Toyota’s decision to continue to invest in Deeside but even so, it’s a big vote of confidence in the work force. They have the skills & commitment to bring on the engine for the new crossover model. Thumbs up for British industry ably led by the car workers of North Wales. RIPPING UP THE RULE BOOK? (In Flintshire). There is a well established rule that states If an elected member does put in an appearance for 6 months, they are councillors no more. A diligent Tory member noted that the Gronant member had not surfaced for 6 months at County Hall & a search through Council or Committee agendas drew a blank. No mention anywhere. A clear no show for certain. It was the Gronant member who had breached the six 6 month rule, so that should have been end …..


The Christmas tree & decorations were taken down with the same yearly uneasy level of anticipation; will the lights work & will anyone be around in 12 months time to enjoy them? The cards ready be finally checked to determine who failed the 12 months survival test. Of course, this is hit & miss calculation when postage charges continue to rise. Years ago, I screwed up the courage not to send one card and made a handsome contribution to a charity. I felt dreadfully guilty every time a card arrived but now, apart from the rare exception when I do reciprocate, charity benefits. This year it was the Salvation Army & the Leprosy Mission. Leprosy can now be cured for £24. How many 2nd class stamps is that? The New Years Honours caused the usual embarrassment to most fair minded citizens and have been a sick joke for years. The awards are so embarrassingly bent! My star prize for the “Seriously Blatant Taxpayers Rip-Off Award”, goes to the Lords Speaker, £101,000 a year Lady D’Sousa. We all picked up the tab for £230 for making her chauffeur driven car wait four hours whilst her ladyship attended the opera a mile …..


Dear Editor, Cllr Attridge’s blistering attack on the First Minister for dismissing the chairman of a European Programme Monitoring Committee for criticising funding the controversial M 4 extension was both courageous & vitally important. The sacked AM confirmed “in her mind there is an unhealthy culture at the top of the Welsh Government which does not allow for rigorous debate ‘. To me, statement highlights how easy it is for any Administration to lose openness & transparency thus sliding into the Culture of secrecy that now exists in Labour led Welsh Government. l’ve worked with Carwyn Jones when I was an AM and I cannot understand how a young & intelligent politician can make such a gaff. Bernie Attridge ‘s rightful criticism should be directed closer to home in Flintshire. However, it’s interesting, he did not come galloping to my rescue when I was mauled by the Chief Executive as I was critical of the CE’s performance when the Authority’s Statement of Accounts came before Council on 24th September. I stated that he was doing his best but it was woefully inadequate. These accounts were robustly criticised, by both WAO auditors & members themselves at the morning meeting of Audit …..

Letter to the Flintshire Leader about Bryn-y-Baal.

Having had a similar letter ignored by the Flintshire Leader; God loves a trier so letter 2, made it to the letters page of the Flintshire Chronicle on 24, September 2015. I repeat it again as the present planning system is totally useless. Unless the Flintshire Planning Committee just rolls & agrees with every application planning officers bring to committee, we will continue to risk legal challenge from thwarted developers who could win. Costs against us don’t come cheap! This Authority is just about broke & we cannot afford this type of expenditure. Where do we go from here? Dear Editor, ‘ NO,’ to 59 homes despite pressure from above’. 10-9-15. Although Flintshire Planning Committee rejected officer’s advice to build 59 houses in the open countryside in a site considered ‘ significant incursion into the rural area, I fear the Bryn Y Baal jubilation may be short lived. As a delighted Jan, part of the protesters group, shook my hand after the result, I bluntly suggested that they were on borrowed time. The Bloor Homes spokesman was clearly shocked by our decision & challenged the Chair; demanding the reasons although as the member who proposed refusal of the application, I …..


The Labour Cabinet’s decision to move all three libraries into Deeside Leisure Centre was “called – in” by a small band of intrepid cllrs. on 8th June. We were asking the scrutiny committee who made the recommendation to Cabinet to reconsider as its wildly unpopular & won’t work. By presenting unassailable facts as to why the scheme would fail, we hoped that at least to give the full council the chance of debating this major change. Hawarden Cllr Carver ripped into the alleged consultation exercise which was neither open nor fair. Cllr Dave Mackie proved the move to the Leisure Centre failed the test of the statutory need to provide a library within 2.5miles to match so many thousands per community. Hawarden & Mancot totally failed this requirement. Brave Cllr Glenys Diskin, Labour herself; pleaded for her Mancot library to be spared & her own party’s decision overturned. My presentation clearly infuriated Cllr Ian Dunbar who loudly announced that a senior councillor’s view of the Leisure Centre was “abysmal.” ‘Do you mean me,” I chirped. “Fame at last”. I had only told the truth, namely the Centre needed a million’s worth of repairs. And now 4 computers against the 18 …..


Some of FCC’s senior officers supervision and monitoring of risk leaves much to be desired & SECRECY REIGNS SUPREME. The Flintshire Leader’s recent FOI request on staff suspensions revealed suspended staff cost the Authority 2000 lost days of work”. This came as no surprise to me. The original complaint went back to May 2012 when I was contacted by an FCC employee who blew the whistle on 4 AD Waste staff, one holding a senior position. The top man owned his own waste removal business & he & three other staff were operating scams including contracts & invoices, the proceeds then allegedly shared amongst themselves. Much council waste materials were also being illegally siphoned off too according to the caller. Although AD Waste had a councillor board member, plus a prestigious firm of Auditors, it happily did its own thing. As long as freebies for mostly Labour handouts and trips kept on coming, no one rocked the AD Waste charity boat. Whistle blower had seen the removal of valuable metals, batteries, etc all nicked from the Council depot under the noses of the top boss. He wanted justice & he came to me. Total inertia from the Governance manager when …..