There was a Resources Scrutiny Committee meeting this evening and I dosed
myself up with Benylin, Panadol and Menthol throat sweets and went along to
watch and listen. Not a good idea. I alternated between almost falling asleep
and barely suppressed coughing fits. I had to leave after about 45 minutes.
Cabinet member Gareth Bacon said as part of his formal address that the coming cuts “will not be very pleasant” and “the prognosis continues to be bleak” and then he went off script. He said this would be his last meeting as cabinet member as he had decided to resign his cabinet post and deputy leadership.
In a reference to recent press articles on his £108,000 taxpayer funded salary he said that he didn’t want his colleagues and his wife to hear the news first from a journalist. Does he really expect us to believe that he had decided to step down without taking leader O’Neill or his wife Cheryl Bacon into his confidence?
When I left the Chairman of the Bexley Voluntary Service Council had been speaking for about 25 minutes. She was still speaking when I looked in on the webcast half an hour later.
The next item on the Agenda concerned Freedom of Information requests and the responsible council officer Ahmet Latif seemed to be more than a little pleased with himself for getting Michael Barnbrook declared a vexatious requester.
Although Mr. Latif didn’t mention Michael by name there was no mistaking who he was referring to because there had only been two such cases and it wasn’t Michael who asked about female staff names.
Mr. Barnbrook was repeatedly given inadequate responses while he was accumulating evidence for a submission to the Metropolitan Police about the lying Cheryl Bacon. Each time Bexley council contradicted itself he was effectively compelled to seek clarification. The last thing Bexley council would want in that case is clarification.
Councillor Danny Hackett who knows exactly what the situation is asked the only pertinent question and discovered that the decision to abuse the Act and mislead the Information Commissioner was taken at Director level. It was always likely that the crooks at the top would be involved in a cover up but confirmation is always welcome.
The only other item of note on the Agenda was The Single Persons Council Tax Discount. This has resulted in 1,154 discounts being withdrawn and an unexpected £328,000 paid into the bank. Just about enough to build a Splash Park.
Is there anyone qualified to fill Bacon’s boots, if that is not a very inappropriate pun in the circumstances? Cheryl Bacon perhaps, to keep the cash in the family? Talent is thin on the ground in Bexley council.
I don’t usually watch the council’s webcasts. Are the cameras and microphones always unsynchronised?