The third Council meeting this week was the Code of Conduct Committee. They
met to agree how the next Independent Person should be appointed in accordance
with the requirements of the Localism Act. Probably the current one is no longer
flavour of the month for refusing to go along with
the stitch up of Councillor Maxine Fothergill.
Chairman Councillor Cheryl Bacon was late because she had failed to take sufficient account of the traffic problems following the burst water main in Crayford and the Vice-Chairman Peter Reader had excused himself. Councillor Louie French stepped into the breach and in the 15 minutes the meeting lasted acquitted himself well.
Apart from myself, four members of the public, the usual suspects, and Councillors Alan Deadman and Maxine Fothergill were present. One can only guess at why Councillor Fothergill chose to be there.
The recommendation was that two Independent Persons are appointed and it was agreed that the positions should be advertised and that applicants should be selected by a panel of two Conservative and one Labour Councillor, Cheryl Bacon to be one of them.
Agenda Item 7 was to review recent complaints against Councillors but it was recommended and agreed that they were merely noted.
At this point Mr. John Watson asked the Chairman if he would agree to use his discretion and allow him to speak. Councillor Cheryl Bacon who had arrived two minutes earlier attempted to influence the Chairman by shaking her head vigorously. She was successful and Mr. Watson was silenced. I imagine that John wanted to draw attention to the inaccuracy in the Agenda which said that the Council’s ‘conviction’ of Maxine Fothergill is under Judicial Review. Unless Maxine herself is going to court, the (apparently incomplete) statement below is totally untrue.
The actual complaint which John Watson has submitted for Judicial Reviewed could hardly be simpler. He asked its Chief Executive if Bexley Council would in future comply with the law and she refused to confirm compliance. I suppose she can’t and keep her job. Full compliance with the law would tend to bring any corrupt organisation to its knees.
Stupid isn’t it? Chief Executive Gill Steward could have stopped the entire business if only she had replied to one letter. She may have found it difficult to confirm that Bexley Council is a law abiding organisation but to instead allow the affair to escalate to the point that Bexley Council has already hired the most expensive barrister it can find shows an abysmal lack of judgment, like the Press Desk withdrawal and the Berlin Wall, but taken to an entirely different level of idiocy.
Note: The room was laid out in accordance with the diagram shown in the Agenda but the two hearing aid wearers in the public gallery both said that the hearing loop system. if there was one, was not working.