The petition on excessive salaries
At the beginning of October the newspapers were still carrying news of our Listening council’s plan to stuff its metaphorical fingers in its ears and break its own rules by refusing to accept the petition. Since then there have been two developments. Old Bexley & Sidcup MP, James Brokenshire, at a private meeting, advocated staff sharing at the highest level. If it’s good enough for some low paid staff to lose their jobs and others to help out in neighbouring boroughs, why not the quarter millionaires?
The other was that the number of signatures has just about doubled in the last four weeks. The earliest council meeting where a petition might be presented is 22nd February 2012. The petitioners are hoping that many of their signatories will turn out for the debate even if presented with nothing but a bunch of mutes demonstrating their democratic credentials. Put it in your diary but don’t be surprised if Bexley council changes the date as a spoiling tactic.
Bexley council got themselves a mention for this latest bit of idiocy on MP Douglas Carswell’s blog too.
Bexley in the news
Whilst the BBC’s One Show was definitely a damp squib, Bexley council did earn themselves a mention in The Sunday Times, and The Bexleyheath Chronicle (and all its variants) gave them the front page for their dubious parking enforcement practices. That one has a good deal of mileage left in it.
On TV this month was councillor Katie Perrior, the one who claims to be best placed to know how local residents are struggling financially, complaining that she couldn’t watch a film during her Premium grade British Airways flight to the States and she only got £50 compensation.
Freedom of Information
Bexley council has been reprimanded twice this month, it may be more, I am not privy to everything the Information Commissioner (IC) says, for refusing to answer FOIs without legal justification. If they do what the IC has asked we will soon know who gave the previous Chief Executive, Nick Johnson his £31,000 pay increase which was so neatly timed to benefit his pension and golden good-bye.
The Information Commissioner will soon be hearing about the Metropolitan Police’s conclusion that exposing anything at all, even the date of an enquiry they probably never made, about Bexley council’s dirty blogger is not in the public interest. So now we know that Bexley council’s preference is to keep a criminal out of the public eye rather than behave as any honest and law-abiding organisation would. We always thought it, now we know it.
It has been put to me that the Met. Police in the shape of Chief Superintendent Dave Stringer has been forced to help block exposure to maintain his unhealthily close relationship with a dishonest council. If the Information Commissioner eventually over-rules him he will be able to say “I tried my best”. The trouble with that theory is that it makes Borough Commander Stringer just as dishonest as the top brass at Bexley council.
While the general population faces Bexley’s range of stealth taxes and the desperate economic straits the country finds itself in, the council has delivered them a calculated snub by taking itself off for a break at its favoured hotel, The Flackley Ash near Rye in Sussex.
Blogger charged with harassment
Criticising Bexley council is a dangerous game. Another Bexley blogger was arrested and charged by the police this week after councillor Melvin Seymour toddled off to the cop shop again as is his wont when he falls out with one of his electors. Last time it was an old man driven to burning down his house in protest at Bexley council’s failure to listen to him. Bexley council prosecuted him for dishonestly claiming benefits but the court cleared him. Obviously someone who burns his own house down needs professional help urgently but councillor Seymour’s preferred course of action was to accuse the elderly gent of harassing him with the result he was given an Anti-Social Behaviour Order.
On 7th May 2009 councillor Seymour was the beneficiary of a £26.10 lunch at Pizza Express paid for on his GLA expense account by the convicted fraudster and one time Bexley council leader, Ian Clement.
A big thank you to councillor John Davey
Most readers may not realise that they owe their daily dose of Bexley council news to Lesnes Abbey ward councillor John Davey, for without him telling me that the redesign of one of my nearest roads was “Bonkers” while being Vice-Chairman of the (now abolished) Transport Scrutiny Sub-Committee responsible for the folly, I might never have begun to probe into Bexley council’s lies. Now look where he has taken us…
That totally unreliable measure of a website’s success, the raw unadulterated number of Bonkers’ hits continues to climb. It’s a useless number except for revealing long term trends. Bonkers hits went up by 32·71% in October compared with September 2011. Perhaps a little exceptional but at least the figure never actually goes down.