General Purposes Committee is usually a fairly dull affair except when its
chairman deputy mayor Geraldene Lucia-Hennis plus councillor Campbell decide to play awkward as
they did on
23rd September 2013. The only good reason to drag myself there through last Wednesday’s
deluge was because Bexley’s Head of Legal, Mr. Alibi, had told Mick Barnbrook that that was where
his questions about the blocked bridleway
could be answered. Mick had sent his question to the Committee Chairman, the Chief Executive and the Committee
Officer well in advance of the meeting, none had bothered to reply.
So as the meeting was being drawn to a close Mr. Barnbrook raised his hand and asked if he could ask a question. “No you can’t” retorted the chairman. Mick has a letter from the council confirming that the GPS chairman has the discretion to allow questions but she rejected Mick’s further request and said the meeting was closed.
Two members of the public I had not seen in the chamber before called out that the council, and Will Tuckley in particular, never answer difficult questions. I assume they spoke from experience.
Curiously Lucia-Hennis then proceeded to film members of the public without seeking their permission. Personally speaking I have no objection but the council’s precious protocol compels members of the public wishing to film or photograph at meetings to sit where there is no danger of other members of the public appearing in shot in case they object. One rule for them, another for the plebs again.
Outside the meeting both Mick and Nicholas Dowling engaged Will Tuckley and Lucia-Hennis in conversation. As I descended the stairs I heard enough to know that their theme was that if they tried answering questions they would not get as many complaints. Probably they agree but I expect the Great Dictator has decreed otherwise. Transparency would be met with being “burned at the stake” was what I heard. No I didn’t make that up.
An account of the meeting itself will appear early next month, if I can find another net connection. More than three days with no sign of a fix is well beyond a joke.
Note: This blog may be posted prematurely as I grab a connection where I can. Mine, I have just been told, is unlikely to come back before next week.