matter of Bexley council not accepting questions on anything other than policy
issues at its meetings and then reneging on that has notched up a step.
Questions to council were effectively banned from May 2011 when a whole host of restrictions were introduced by Teresa O’Neill who chaired Bexley council’s Constitutional Review Panel.
One of the new restrictions was aimed at disenfranchising any resident who was unable or unwilling to allow his or her private address to be published on the council’s website. Such people might range from those living with parents to those such as battered wives who would be put at personal risk if their address became public knowledge. Eleven (†) Bexley councillors are totally anonymous in terms of address details and claim, almost certainly falsely, to be at risk of violence if their whereabouts became known. Just how seriously do they think they have annoyed their electorate? But no Bexley resident is afforded that excuse. If anyone can think of a valid reason why Bexley council publishes residents’ addresses on its website I would be very pleased to hear of it.
The obvious procedure for ensuring questions come from Bexley residents is to check the name and address against the electoral roll. The extra step is totally unnecessary and a policy which is nothing but an exercise in sheer spite by the elected dictatorship.
Do they have a reason for their policy? No is the answer; even their finely tuned lying machine has not been able to manufacture one.
When pen jabbing disability scoffing mayor Alan Downing was asked for an answer he said he didn't have to give one because publishing residents’ addresses for no reason was not a matter of policy. So what is it you may well ask, and someone did. From lie manufacturer in chief Kevin Fox came the answer that their address publishing policy wasn’t really a policy as it had been enshrined in a Protocol - and that’s different.
Not according to a dictionary or thesaurus it isn’t so Fox’s boss was asked to explain.
Nick Hollier, Head of Human Resources (£86,088 p.a.) is not a man of independent thought and how could he be? All these over-paid bureaucrats can be sacked on the whim of councillors, so there is absolutely no chance of the pig headed mayor being over-ruled, but it can be fun watching them lie themselves into ever more difficult corners. Hollier came up with the brilliant wheeze that Protocols are not Policies because they have to be implemented, and implementing anything is an operational matter and the council doesn’t allow its meetings to be sullied by operational matters. Hollier probably isn’t a moron but his salary depends on him acting like one.
So the next step up on the quest for ever more convoluted answers to a question which has no sane or democratic answer was to go to the six figure salaried Director of Customer and Corporate Services, Paul Moore. It’s a personal view, but I believe Moore is probably the least bent of Bexley council’s overpaid gangsters but faced with defending mayoral idiocy and the leader’s policy on addresses, paying his mortgage is always going to prevail. What nonsense could the top council brains come up with to defend the indefensible?
Mr. Moore, anxious to justify his Prime Ministerial salary, takes two pages to come to the point. He steps back from Nick Hollier’s arrant nonsense that Protocols are operational matters rather than Policies and has taken a good long look at his thesaurus. A policy is not a policy it is a mere “rule book issue”.
According to Paul Moore it is not a policy because it is not “affecting many residents”. Is that pathetic or ingenious? It is clearly a policy that applies to everyone in the borough apart from councillors and Moore can have no idea of how many people it affects. (Click image for full response.)
Inevitably the complaint will go to the next stage and from there to the Local Government Ombudsman all because Teresa O’Neill, leader of Bexley council, is dishonest and spiteful and has surrounded herself with sycophantic yes men. The cost to taxpayers who pay for the lies that protect her grows ever higher.
I can’t wait to see what Will Tuckley’s excuse will be. For £258,000 a year I shall expect a real beauty.
Note: Mr. Moore’s reference to April 2012 is a mistake. The Constitutional Review panel did not meet in 2012 at all.
† Referenced blogs quoting lower numbers were correct at the time. More councillors have since pulled the Section 32 trick. Click for a London wide list.