Thursday, 5 March 2009

CRAZY COUNCILLORS AT STANDARDS BOARD

I saw this in the Daily Telegraph today, well worth reading.

"A council leader who compared a rival to notorious Nazi Joseph Goebbels will not be investigated by a local authority watchdog."

Interesting judgment by the Standards Board for Councillors in England.

The trouble is, if councillors complain vexatiously it can damage the local authority's reputation and cost it hundreds of thousands of pounds, like here in Somerset.

"A parish councillor who filed nearly 100 complaints against four councils in the space of only 18 months has made a further 30 in just one day, provoking fresh criticism that he is "abusing the system."

Of course the craziest councillors are cyclists like pictured Colin Rosenstiel....click here.

"A councillor was facing suspension after he allegedly blocked the path of an ambulance responding to a 999 call - because it broke local by-laws."

7 comments:

  1. This touches on a wider issue of how politicians present themselves and their views through blogging, in my view. And how they deal with those who disagree with them.

    Thanet has a lively blogging scene, but it is marred by the attitudes that come across, mostly from those on the political right, and including elected councillors.

    You have been the target of some flak from Tory Councillor Simon Moores recently, and just a cuple of examples from his blog indicate the attitude adopted towards those who hold contrary views.

    “I wonder, in your drab, resentment-filled space (12:38) whether you have ever been the catalyst for such happiness?”

    “And if your own life is even slightly interesting or effective, which I very much doubt...”

    It seems to be the "thing" to disagree with someone by challenging not their views but their social, intellectual or psychological state. That plus the intellectual snobbery that is a pervasive feature of the Tory commentators - they think only they have brains, business acumen, ability and achievements - and it makes for an unpleasant atmosphere.

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  2. We can tell you of one local abuser of the system also involved in local politics as described in the article and he definately needs controlling - wasting tax payers money keep repeating the same vexacious complaints that officers keep having to look at!

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  3. Sorry, but this is all nonsense. If a complaint is vexatious it can be investigated and dismissed quite quickly. The reason TDC has such difficulty with these people is because their complaints are valid and justified. The Council is running out of ways to justify its appalling behaviour. TDC has spent years trying not to deal with legitimate complaints about a host of issues. The move to have people labelled in this way is an affront to democracy.

    Think about it. The Pleasurama development was an appalling mess. Individuals decided to fight the proposals and (on the last iteration) had managed to get changes made. How much harder will it be for people to do this if they are all on a blacklist of troublemakers?

    This week we have seen the exposure of a company that was keeping secret files about "so-called" troublemakers and preventing them from obtaining employment. I've seen a prominent local Councillor railing against this on his blog ("We told you so" - was the tone). Yet we are now told that the Council intends to keep a secret file on people they label as troublemakers. These people will be charged Council tax but they won't have the same rights as other people who pay the same tax.

    I have a question. Suppose Mr. X has been labelled and the Council won't answer his complaints. Mr. X complains that the house next to him has been erected without planning permission. Suppose Mr. X is right. Two or three years down the line we end up in the High Court. The Court rules that Mr. X was right all along and that TDC has failed in its statutory duty. The Court rules that the house must be knocked down and Mr. X should receive substantial compensation. Who will be paying this? Will it be the Councillors and officers, who are so desperate to avoid scrutiny of their actions that they have invented this labelling system? Or will it be the long-suffering taxpayer?

    We all know that TDC doesn't work. The toadies who have been elected just do what they are told and there is no kind of meaningful scrutiny internally.

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  4. Sorry, but this is all nonsense. If a complaint is vexatious it can be investigated and dismissed quite quickly. The reason TDC has such difficulty with these people is because their complaints are valid and justified. The Council is running out of ways to justify its appalling behaviour. TDC has spent years trying not to deal with legitimate complaints about a host of issues. The move to have people labelled in this way is an affront to democracy.

    Think about it. The Pleasurama development was an appalling mess. Individuals decided to fight the proposals and (on the last iteration) had managed to get changes made. How much harder will it be for people to do this if they are all on a blacklist of troublemakers?

    This week we have seen the exposure of a company that was keeping secret files about "so-called" troublemakers and preventing them from obtaining employment. I've seen a prominent local Councillor railing against this on his blog ("We told you so" - was the tone). Yet we are now told that the Council intends to keep a secret file on people they label as troublemakers. These people will be charged Council tax but they won't have the same rights as other people who pay the same tax.

    I have a question. Suppose Mr. X has been labelled and the Council won't answer his complaints. Mr. X complains that the house next to him has been erected without planning permission. Suppose Mr. X is right. Two or three years down the line we end up in the High Court. The Court rules that Mr. X was right all along and that TDC has failed in its statutory duty. The Court rules that the house must be knocked down and Mr. X should receive substantial compensation. Who will be paying this? Will it be the Councillors and officers, who are so desperate to avoid scrutiny of their actions that they have invented this labelling system? Or will it be the long-suffering taxpayer?

    We all know that TDC doesn't work. The toadies who have been elected just do what they are told and there is no kind of meaningful scrutiny internally.

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  5. I see (08:35) ignored or banned elsewhere in the Thanet 'Blogs' and with a long and distinguished history of occupying a lively, frequently abusive and resentment-filled space is now trying to be Mark's best friend instead.

    His anonymous style andrhetoric are familiar to anyone visiting local weblogs over the last two years. Close to the council elections he will predicatably become quite frantic in his allegations but this time around the Blogger will more likely use comemnt moderation to keep him out one would hope.

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  6. I think you have just proved my point about the sort of behaviour you and some others adopt far more effectively than I could have done, Doctor Moores. Thank you.

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  7. I will moderate comments by content rather than author.

    There are some complainants for whom this is a "care in the community" matter and it is a hard line to draw where people have mental health issues.

    There are though a hard core few complainers for whom I think TDC needs a policy. The key thing for me is this should be objectively managed by officers, not subjectively judged by members.

    I posted also because of the anonymous lazy all TDC councillors/officers are useless comments, look elsewhere. TDC is below average but there are as in any organisation good, bad and indifferent.

    Scrutiny does not work well as I have written elsewhere.

    Finally note the post on vexatious matters relates to a councillor. Thanet has at least 1 cllr who vexatiously complains. The Conservative group are wasting valuable resources that could benefit the community by ignoring this culture in their group.

    I log this now for when later matters come out to point out again how poorly parts of TDC are run.

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