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Bexley council - Petition against excessive salaries

Appeal against petition rejection

Dear Mr. XXXXX,

Thank you for your letter dated 22nd December 2011 (your reference GP 19/10) in which you informed me that the Council has rejected my petition and it will not be discussed at a Council meeting. I am naturally disappointed at this affront to the wishes of over 2,200 residents of the Borough and on their behalf I would like to appeal the Council’s decision for the reasons that I will supply below.

The petition is inaccurate, misleading and inappropriate.

You do not tell me in what way, shape or form you feel this to be the case and so I cannot really address your nebulous statement. However, I would point out to you that the web-page you supplied does not supply a total remuneration package for any of the Council employees mentioned in the pre-amble to the petition – which I assume is what you are implying is in some way remiss.

In the absence of the specific total amount actually being supplied by Bexley Council I used the £208,983 figure as supplied on the web-page you mentioned in your letter for Will Tuckley as the amount he had ‘the potential to earn up to.’ Are you claiming that this was an unreasonable thing to do? In what way was this misleading anybody that read and signed the petition?

For the other Directors I used the same logic in that each time I took the amount indicated that the individual had the ability to earn up to from the following Council web-pages:

http://www.bexley.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=7316
http://www.bexley.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=7317
http://www.bexley.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=7318
http://www.bexley.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=7319

Given that this would tend to understate the total salary remuneration package received - as it takes no account of any the Council’s employers pension contributions or other set payments and claims mentioned on each page - I do not feel that I have exaggerated their total pay package at all and it is rather disingenuous for you to suggest otherwise. My figures were derived directly from Bexley Council web pages. So if I am inaccurate, misleading or inappropriate you only have yourselves to blame.

You further claim that the Secretary of State has not made the recommendation stated in the petition. I would draw your attention to the following:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/7805030/Eric-Pickles-pledges-to-cut-bloated-council-pay.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12473979
http://www.politics.co.uk/news/2011/2/16/pickles-exposes-100k-council-salaries
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15767390

Now is it really unreasonable to deduce from these that he is making a recommendation about executive pay in excess of £100,000 at Local Government level? I think not.

As such I maintain that the petition cannot be inaccurate, misleading or inappropriate as you claim.

The Council has made substantial reductions in the number of senior managers and constrained their pay conditions.

This is very interesting information but seems to me to have no relevance at all to the petition submitted which is asking about Bexley Council’s response to the Secretary of State and the perceived Government policy. The point also does not provide any specific grounds for why the petition itself should not be discussed at a Council meeting.

The Council needs skilled and experienced staff and, with appropriate independent advice, reflects their extensive responsibilities in their pay.

This is very interesting information but seems to me to have no relevance at all to the petition submitted which is asking about Bexley Council’s response to the Secretary of State and the perceived Government policy. The point also does not provide any specific grounds for why the petition itself should not be discussed at a Council meeting.

The Council is a responsible employer and respects the legal rights of all our employees.

Quite right too. This is very interesting information but seems to me to have no relevance at all to the petition submitted which is asking about Bexley Council’s response to the Secretary of State and the perceived Government policy. The point also does not provide any specific grounds for why the petition itself should not be discussed at a Council meeting.

As an interesting aside the ‘legally binding contracts’ referred to were clearly easily altered, by your own admission as expanded upon in point 2, so I am unclear what further point is being made here? Please feel free to enlighten me.

You have been told on a number of occasions the Council’s Constitution and rules would not allow your petition to be debated, yet you have chosen to ignore this and mislead those you have approached to sign.
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This seems to me to have no relevance at all to the petition submitted which is asking about Bexley Council’s response to the Secretary of State and the perceived Government policy.

If you have evidence that this particular petition was discussed with me and that I was told it specifically would not be debated then please supply it as I have no recollection of this in my dealings with the Council. If you cannot substantiate your claim then I ask you politely to withdraw this claim.

Standing Order 84 states clearly that it refers to a question that might arise in a Council meeting. It has no bearing on whether a petition should be accepted in the first place. Your attempt to stifle debate beforehand cannot be substantiated with this rule and at this point in the petition process.

Your reference to protocols on Questions and Deputations is also disingenuous as it does not appear to refer to petitions either. And in any case as I have already pointed out several times above, the petition I have submitted is asking about Bexley Council’s response to a perceived Government policy rather than matters relating to specific HR issues as you state.

As I have managed to refute all of the points and issues raised in your refusal letter I ask you again to do the decent thing and formally accept the petition to be discussed, as per the Petition Protocol, at the next full Council meeting.

Yours sincerely


Elwyn Bryant

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