I was tipped off yesterday that the Sentinel were about to publish an article about the Dimensions fiasco.
Publish they did and what an article it was!
An example of fantastic journalism by Iain Robinson & David Johnson has lifted the lid on this whole sorry saga. But what it does highlight is the complete disregard for the elected representatives of this city and the public at large by this officer led authority.
Deals done in secret, officers saying that they didn’t have to include councillors in the process, a contract put into place and then a complete denial from the Elected Mayor that such a deal had been agreed.
Mo Chaudry did what any businessman would do ““ he attempted to protect his interests, no blame there.
Neither should there be any blame attached to Roger Ibbs in this. This man has suffered every bit as much as Mr Chaudry and he should now be applauded for arguing against the closure of Dimensions knowing that the public would be fiercely opposed to it. He has always maintained that there was more to this issue than the £60,000 savings that were promised and I think that the Sentinel article proves that beyond doubt.
Astonishingly Mr Ibbs has yet to be officially cleared of any wrong doing and there is an ongoing “ËœStandards’ enquiry. Surely enough is enough, why have this hanging over his head in light of the information that has now been brought into the public domain by the Sentinel article?
It isn’t just the Dimensions fiasco though is it? No, no, recently officer incompetence has led to the failure to implement a rise in car parking charges even though voted through by full council.
It now looks like there are major doubt whether the latest waste management policy will realise the £1million worth of saving promised by officers even after thorough scrutiny by certain councillors.
There is an on-going issue over the Britannia Stadium deal that was officer led, major questions are now being asked to what involvement, if any, councillors had in this decision and whether the full facts were presented.
We have the issue of the paid Chair’s position of the NSRP being advertised in the Times, even though the decision was subject to the call-in process.
Officers of this council have have had their own way for too long. The time has come for a complete change. The residents of this city are being let down and it is simply not good enough!
A councillor told the Council Leader Ross Irving that it was the public’s perception that things are no different now than they were under the old Elected Mayor system.
In many ways that [can’t remember who it was?] councillor is 100% right. We might have a new political leader but in reality what else has changed? Officers are still calling the shots and are now being found out by the small handful of councillors who are scrutinising their every move and every decision that the cabinet nod through.
Is it just me or does it seem to everyone else that there is a concerted effort by some officers to keep councillors well and truly out of the loop? But then they are quite happy to see councillors pilloried by members of the public for the goings on at the Civic.
The political groups groups are in turmoil across the chamber with on exception.
Labour rocked by another scandal, certain Stoke Central activist stopped from going on the candidates list[I don’t necessarily think they are wrong for doing this, but it is another public issue]. An uncertain start for the new Labour Group leader who faced massive criticism from across the chamber at last weeks Extraordinary Full Council Meeting. All this fast on the heels of Mike Barnes and “ËœReportergate’
The Conservative and Independent Alliance have seen a major split in readiness for the 2010 elections. There are questions about the group leadership of Ross Irving. Roger Ibbs still outside of the Conservatives and kept out of a cabinet position since his arrest.
The appointment of a controversial local party Chairman in David Jack has led to rumours of unrest within the Libdems and the possible departure of Group Leader Kieran Clarke and Lord mayor Jean Bowers. There were also rumours that Mike Barnes was about to join the group which have since been denied by both parties.
The City Independents are completely split over the conduct of the Four cabinet members and the rest of the group. This has led to attacks on Terry Follows, Ian Mitchel and Brian Ward from across the chamber for the turn around in their attitudes since the days of the old EMB. Many from inside their own group are accusing them of taking 30 pieces of silver for their compliance.
The BNP are the group that are sitting back rubbing their hands in delight and laughing at the state of the other parties in the chamber. But what are they actually doing for the people they represent and indeed the city at large? They have a policy based on the Holy Orders of the Cistercian Monks of Hulton Abbey, because they have obviously taken a vow of silence. For two full council meeting now that they not made a single contribution apart from the inane ramblings of Cllr Batkin. It should be made public that they turned up to the last meeting with 7 of their councillors, yet there were only 2 there at the end. Alby and several others left the meeting some 2.5 hours before the end. It is outrageous that this group stand to gain and grow in number because of the ineptness of the other groups in the chamber.
If the BNP do make gains at the next elections, every councillor, group leader and party should share the collective responsibility and accept that it is they that have let the city down.
Political groups have to get their act together. They must unite, put their policies forward and force the BNP to out their vision for a city with a far-right majority in the chamber.
Thank god we have PKB and Mick Salih who are not caught up in the party shenanigans and are able to operate efficiently and long may that continue.
To the council leader Ross Irving, who I respect enormously, I say this:
While the dimensions fiasco did not happen on your watch, there has been a number of incidents that are giving the residents of this city cause for concern. Officers are giving the impression that it is they who are calling the shots and doing what the hell the please, when they choose. We elect councillors Ross, who then in turn elected you as council leader. I urge you, for the long term stability of this city, take control of the situation and give political direction and an unwavering message to those officers in the council that have obviously made their minds up that you are weak.
If you can not do this Ross, for god’s sake go now and give someone else the opportunity”¦”¦..