Archive for ‘Council Capers’

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 Access to the FCC IPad had been withdrawn so I was reliant on my minder, who nice chap as is is, insisted on detail of what I was seeking.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. …..

GOING FOR THE WRONG TARGET? MISSED CHANCE TO CALL OFFICERS TO ACCOUNT.

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 …..

WELL DONE TO THE DEESIDE ENGINEERS.

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 …..

AND SO INTO ANOTHER YEAR!

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 …..

NO REPRIEVE FOR HAWARDEN,MANCOT OR QUEENSFERRY LIBRARIES. June 2015.

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 …..

THE MUSHROOM TREATMENT FOR ELECTED MEMBERS CONTINUES UNABATED?

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 …..

January Blog

New year seems so long ago. First engagement as Hawarden community council chair was the celebration of 10 years of the “Hawarden Walks” on 9th January. Walkers have met regularly in Hawarden Institute, their HQ, for 10 years. The walks; ” 60 minutes rapid or slow, or 90 minutes brisk. Something for everyone. The original pioneers of this remarkable success story, including Colin Herbert, were introduced along with Walk Leaders, sporting Day Glow jackets depicting their names. Colin, the chief Hawarden Walker Supremo & Heather, Institute manager produced a cake. We enjoyed a joint blowing out of the 10 birthday candles. Over the years, thousands of walks have been enjoyed. No one is too old, dogs are welcome & the spirit of friendship of the walking fraternity is strong.mI recommend anyone who feels lonely, to give them a try. You’ll be impressed. BLUE BADGE BLUES. A stressed Mrs S rang just before Christmas. Her very immobile husband learnt, out of the blue, that his Blue Badge,(BB), was to be withdrawn in January. Her attempts to get some sensible response from Flintshire officers failed & she was being bounced from one department to another. Hubby was completely grounded without the badge. …..

DECEMBER BLOG

Flintshire’s Council met on 25th November. As the Chair’s pastor was away, Cllr Chris Bithell led prayers. Nothing wrong in how he conducted worship of course. It’s just a pity like a Whited Sepulchre, he didn’t seek forgiveness for himself for making those ghastly smears to my reputation at that stressful Planning Meeting some months ago. See Blog Passim. His disgustingly unfair remarks still await a simple apology which would then draw a line under that unpleasant incident. Cllrs. had to debate the financial future of the North Wales Fire & Rescue Service & what will be their role over the next few years? The six county councils share the Fire & Rescue Authority from council budgets. With all Local Authorities budgets under sever strain, the choices are bleak. Welsh Government have decimated local authority budgets so where do we go to fund this essential service? Freeze or cut the Fire & Rescue Authority budget, OR increase it & protect services? Tricky this: this brave Profession puts its life on the line to save house from burning down or cutting victims out of multiple road crashes. Can we really cut their budgets too? Council leader, Aaron Shotton went for the …..

Welsh Government’s Creditability incinerated And Goals Galore!

Hawarden High School’s Annual Service of remembrance is always moving. The standard for the 7th November event was as high as ever. The most prolific contribution for reading & singing came from a pupil I had interviewed for a Rotary Outward Bound course. This was the icing on the cake to help her goal of becoming Head Girl. Goal achieved. She & the Head Boy read out the list of the fallen. Last Post sounded & a deep silence descended. Clapping was reserved to the end of the service and it was well deserved. MY GOAL. My goal as Chair of the Community Council was to march in parade from Gladstone Playing Fields, climb the steps of Hawarden Cenotaph & lay a wreath without falling base over apex in front of a large crowd. No big deal surely? It’s less then a mile & 5 steps up and 5 steps down! Marching had been off limits because of dodgy legs; plate in ankle, full knee replacements, two previously ruptured Achilles’ tendons & worn back discs. Infuriated when a weighty Cllr bellowed across the room at a Civic Service a few months ago, “you seem to be less mobile than you …..

Labour Heavyweights Strike Back?

“Revenge is a dish best served cold”. The first item on the Audit Committee Agenda should have been named “Revenge & Retribution” as a new chairman had to be elected for the year. I had been privileged to hold this post for the past two years, courtesy of Labour. Suddenly all that was about to change. Weeks ago, a Cllr shocked me rigid by asking: “Did you know you’re going to be sacked as chair of Audit?” He even named my successor. What had I done to offend my former patrons? Was it because I could not recommend to full Council that the annual statement of accounts had been thoroughly scrutinised way back last September? We had examined this huge Statement of Accounts in June & then saw the papers when they arrived late for the September 2013 Committee I told my Tory group I was worried as the Audit Committee had not been given the time allowed to scrutinise the annual statement of accounts &, thus, I was not willing to ask full Council to accept them. I was unanimously advised to defer the meeting & as chair I was allowed to do so. The power of a Committee …..