My KCC Election Manifesto & Video

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Hart, Fenner, Poole. Expel them from Labour Party!

Thank goodness new Council Leader Iris Johnston had the guts to sack Michelle Fenner and her partner Councillor Allan Poole from their Cabinet post. In a long meandering statement about their sacking, Fenner has the audacity to claim that she, Poole and ex-Council Leader Clive Hart had acted entirely properly in relation to the management of an extremely   serious complaint I had submitted about the actions of the Council’s Chief Executive.

She said that  “At the General Purposes Committee we acted in support of the Chief Executive’s rights against complaints we did this because we used factual evidence and we were guided by our sense of social justice and our integrity”. I agree that Fenner and Poole “acted to support the Chief Executive” but certainly not from the standpoint of  social justice and integrity. On the contrary, Fenner and Poole used all their influence as members of the General Purposes Committee to undermine, cover-up and nobble my complaint and ensure that the Chief Executive’s actions were never properly investigated. It was only the Conservatives, Independent and UKIP councillors voting together that prevented Fenner and  Poole  from sweeping one of the most serious complaints Thanet Council has ever received under the carpet.
Of course as discerning readers with a healthy distrust of politicians you have every right to think that I am exaggerating my claims and bigging up my own position. But hang on. The Council’s Monitoring Officer,  Mr Harvey Patterson, an experienced local government lawyer who was responsible for ensuring that the Council acts in accordance with the law, issued a 13 page letter supported by 20 pages of documents alleging that Fenner and Hart acted in ways aimed at  undermining the investigation my complaint.

About Fenner he alleges that she “appears to consider it appropriate to use subterfuge and concealment in a crude attempt to mislead the Monitoring Officer. .. conduct such as this  falls short of the Nolan principles of openness, honest and transparency that underpin and govern conduct in public life. As Cllr. Fenner has also chosen to disregard of my advice that she has no power to instruct (a senior human resources manager)  to become involved, I consider that her conduct brings her office into disrepute”. He adds that the conduct of Cllr Fenner and (a senior human resources manager employee) calls into question the integrity of the investigation as well the propriety of Cllr Fenner's and (a senior human resources manager)  involvement in it. He concludes that Fenner conduct  “suggests to me that (she) should not have had any involvement in the determination of Cllr Driver's complaints”
 Which takes us to ex-Council Leader Clive Hart in respect of whom Mr Patterson’s letter  says that when he explained to Hart how I managed to obtain a copy of an  e-mail (I borrowed it from a file) which appeared to show improper interference in the Council’s planning process by a senior officer

the Leader's  first  utterance…. was to ask whether Cllr. Driver's theft of a Council document had been reported  to the police. As the Leader had previously been a long serving member of the Planning Committee I was taken aback by his apparent indifference to the existence of the e-mail of 29 May 2013, only to the circumstances of its discovery and the identity of the discoverer. I nonetheless explained exactly what had happened and that it would be difficult to allege theft - and intention to permanently deprive the owner - as the document in question had been copied back to the Council and Cllr.Driver had agreed to return the original”.
But it  didn’t stop there. Mr Patterson alleges in his letter that Hart contracted the Chief Executive requesting  that I should be reported to the police for  stealing a council e-mail even though I had  informed the council I had taken it and returned it after copying. This rather unusual step of asking  someone who is being complained about to call the police on the complainant was described by Mr Patterson as “constituting  a serious error of judgement on his part”.

Mr Patterson was dismissed from his post, by the Council’s Chief Executive,  less than 48 hours after sending his letter to members of the Council’s General Purposes Committee. Several days after his  dismissal both Fenner and Poole voted against a Conservative Party motion  to investigate the issues raised by  Mr Patterson’s letter. In effect Fenner had voted to prevent an investigation into her own and ex-Council Leader Hart’s actions.  A  breath-taking  act of  dishonest self-preservation if ever there was one!
So there you have it,  the ex-Leader of Thanet Council and 2 of his senior colleagues acting in such a way as to prevent an investigation into serious allegations about improper interference into a planning application. This is one of the hidden reasons what Hart was forced to resign as leader and his supporters forced from the Cabinet. I sincerely hope that new leader Councillor Iris Johnston will now make sure that a fair and thorough investigation  without any interference is now allowed to take place without further delay.

Although Hart, Poole and Fenner have now been removed from (almost all) positions of influence at Thanet Council. I think it is beholden upon the Labour Party to launch a full investigation into the actions of these three councillors who, in my opinion, have brought their party into considerable disrepute. If found guilty they should be expelled from the Labour Party. But in the sad event that Labour covers-up the actions of its members and fails to act, you can exercise your right not to vote for the this shameful trio in 2015.



  1. Poole and Fenner 'partners'? Thought they were both happily married to others?

  2. Off topic sorry Ian but I hear your in favour of manstons CPO I hope this is not true as you were the only Councillor making any sense but if you beleave a CPO for manston with tax payers money is a good idea then ill lose all faith in you

  3. The behaviour of these people is so strange that I cannot help thinking that they have been 'got at' by Common Purpose. They seem utterly convinced that they were doing the right thing.(!?!)

  4. It's not this trio you shouldn't vote for. It's the whole rotten lot of them. For years, the main parties on TDC have whipped their members into line to cover up what they have done. You only have to look at Pleasurama. It's a massive blot on the landscape, yet neither main party nor any individual has received a word of criticism for what they did. Nor have they held a proper inquiry into what went wrong. This means it could happen all over again, because nobody has acknowledged the mistakes which were made. Another example would be Transeuropa. The public saddled with millions of pounds of debt....yet nobody is to blame. Councillors have consistently put the interests of their parties above the interests of their constituents. If they fail to demand an inquiry into the actions of the gang of three they are just covering up again.

  5. Be VERY careful before backing a CPO. There are debts associated with Manston and you HAVE TO be very, very sure that you aren't buying the liabilities as well as the land. With Patterson's departure I would be asking whether there is anybody left at TDC with enough legal background to ask the right questions. I'm quite sure that any council solicitor worth his or her salt would be insisting on a trip to Lincoln's Inn Fields....but you HAVE TO ask the right questions.