My KCC Election Manifesto & Video

Friday, 9 May 2014

Thanet Labour Vote for Dishonesty & Backside Covering

Last night I attended a meeting of the Council’s General Purposes Committee. This is the Committee which is supervising the investigation into my allegation that a senior council officer may have improperly influenced  a planning application submitted by East Kent Opportunities (EKO) to build 550 houses at the New Haine Road, Ramsgate (see my previous posts).

The Council’s ex-Monitoring Officer, Mr Harvey Patterson, who was dismissed last week by the Chief Executive, had made extremely serious allegations that the Chief Executive and the Head of East Kent Human Resources,  Councillor Michelle Fenner,   and Council Leader,  Clive Hart,  may have taken actions which could possibly  undermine the  investigation of my complaint. These allegations were set out in a 13 page letter supported by 20 pages of documentation. This letter was sent to the members of the General Purposes Committee last week and within 48 hours Mr Patterson was dismissed  from his employment with the Council. I wonder why?
Just so that you aware, every Council is required by law to have a  Monitoring Officer. It is the job of  the Monitoring Officer to ensure that the council, its staff and elected  councillors always act in in accordance with the law of the land and the Council’s own rules and regulations, which are set out in its Constitution. For a Monitoring Officer to send out a 13 page letter making extremely  serious allegations against some of the most senior people  at Thanet Council, is not a step which would have been taken lightly. In fact, it’s about as serious  as it gets.

But to continue with my  story, at last nights meeting  the Conservative members of the General Purposes Committee put forward a motion that Mr Patterson’s allegations should be  properly investigated and discussed by the committee. This motion was supported by the Independent and UKIP members of the Committee. To my utter astonishment and disbelief, Labour Councillors Michelle Fenner and Allan Poole voted against this motion. Labour Councillor Rick Everit abstained. Fortunately the motion was passed and there will now be an investigation. However, it’s the voting of Fenner and Poole which should be of massive public concern.
Here we have 2 of the most senior Labour politicians in Thanet voting against   an investigation into, what I believe to be,  the most serious allegations of misconduct ever to have hit Thanet Council. These allegations were not made by the usual suspects,  such as myself, but by  the Council’s own Monitoring Officer!.

 Most incredible of all,   Councillor Fenner, one the people against whom the Monitoring Officer had levelled very serious allegations, voted last night to oppose an investigation into  her own actions! It’s like me being able to vote against the Police  investigation into allegations that I assaulted  a security guard at the live exports demonstration  at Ramsgate Port this week.
Voting to protect your backside is a massive breach of the Councillors  Code of Conduct. I also believe it to be contrary to the rules and regulations governing councillors conflicts of interest. These rules mean that Councillor Fenner should not  have voted on the motion to investigate  Mr Patterson’s letter and should have left the room whilst the debate and vote took place. It’s inconceivable that Fenner, an experienced councillor of many years standing, did not know that it is ethically and perhaps  legally wrong to vote to block an investigation into yourself. It’s also amazing that the Chief Executive and new interim Monitoring Officer who were both at the meeting last night, failed to advise Fenner that in voting on the motion she had placed herself in a position of massive conflict of interest. I will of course be taking this up with the powers that be.

In today’s Thanet Gazette Council Leader Clive Hart has the audacity to write  that the Council’s  Labour administration is “as open as possible”.  This North Korean style re-writer of history neglects to say that it was under his own leadership that the scandals and cover-ups relating to TransEuropa Ferries, East Kent Opportunities, Little Oasis Skate Park and more recently Dreamland have emerged. Now his lieutenants are desperately trying to bury allegations about how they may have tried to nobble an important  investigation into serious allegations against the Chief Executive.
Instead of  taking responsibility for his administration’s actions Hart  heaps the blame   on a  “tiny but very noisy and disruptive minority of councillors”. Well I have news for Hart. This tiny group of noisy and disruptive councillors is becoming bigger. The Conservatives, my colleague independents, and UKIP are now beginning to put aside our difference to fight back against Hart's political mismanagement of Thanet Council. Even within his own Labour Group a growing number of councillors are becoming increasingly disillusioned with his brand of leadership.  How long will the great leader survive?

In less than a year you will have chance to rid Thanet Council of those politicians responsible for abusing power, telling lies, covering up wrongdoing, and mis-managing services.  In less than a year you will have the chance to replace  them with people who are passionate about open and honest government and developing a prosperous and sustainable future for Thanet and its people. Its time for a change.

17 comments:

  1. Surely you and the Independents etc can end Harts regime now

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  2. Surely, Fenner can't vote on a matter in which she has a personal interest?

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    1. Your right. But she did. The Chief Executive and the new Interimin Monitoring Officer were sat on either side of her. Neither of them said a word about what she did. I will be submitting a complaint

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    2. The fact that the new "IMO" didn't ask Councillor F to leave the meeting, due to conflict of interest, then one can only assume that he/she has not got the relevent credentials or, for that matter, the mettle to perform his duty in the position of "IMO".. How much more can this administration get away with before the "powers-that-be" (as you say), finally look into your complaints properly.

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    3. But, if the Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer were at fault you need to be complaining about them. What do the council's rules say about making a complaint against the Chief Executive? The sooner somebody external is brought in the better. The Labour Group is demonstrating that it can't be trusted to behave responsibly. In an ideal world the opposition would unite to ensure that this matter was dealt with properly and a few responsible Labour councillors would join vote for an inquiry, to prove to us all that democracy really does work.

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    4. Who is the interim monitoring officer? It being a quasi-judicial role, does he have any legal qualifications or has he received any training to do his job. If councillors have allowed McG to appoint someone who is unqualified for the role, they are liable for the mistakes that are being made. Councillors are elected by us to run the council and they are obliged to oversee what is being done and to intervene when things are not done properly.

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    5. Anon 21:51 - I think that this is not totally about the Labour group. There are many unhappy voices in the party but Clive has such a tight grip over them they cannot speak out publicly. It is a shame that they claim to be working for the good of Thanet yet the people of Thanet are saying they are not. But to a party that has not held power for a number of years, this is their only chance to shine. The trouble is, people will remember their administration, which seems to be making the Ezekiel years look preferable to many. Or - as I suspect - we will have a number of new councillors come 2015. Clive is pushing the people away from Labour. He is damaging their party.

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    6. The Labour Party has been losing members rather than recruiting in these tough times, precisely because of the poor example shown by Hart, Fenner, Poole and some others. Their conceit is unbelievable. They have done more damage to the Labour Party locally than any UKIPper or Tory could muster in debate. Local politics is finished in Thanet, only a total restructuring as has begun in Canterbury will begin to rectify this most serious of circumstances that this local authority finds itself in.

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  3. Ian Can't you find some others to join with you with a complaint. From what you have said the whole of the conservative group will surely join with you. It needs to be a collective effort. Those that wouldn't join would be putting a large question mark over themselves.

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  4. SURELY TIME FOR VOTE OF NO CONFIDECE IN THE HART ADDMINISTRATION IF AS YOU SAY HIS OWN SIDE ARE FED UP WITH HIS WAYS OUT HIM NOW

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  5. Just shows how bent some of them are

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  6. Ian, I have heard that Rick Everit has mounted a leadership challange to Clive!!

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    1. So long as it's not Iris. She's been a councillor for over 20 years, you know.

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    2. no she hasn't, it just seems like it! she has been there for 19 years..

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    3. Deidre Barlow would be preferable!

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  7. Shouldn't we back step a little and ask why the sale of Manston was allowed to go ahead with no restrictions as to its use? Who was involved in those discussions with Gloag. She must have had some idea all along that she might/would get planning permission for housing. It is now up to planning officers in whom I have little faith and whose acceptance of brown envelopes at times can be questioned.

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  8. Clive Hart's actions or inactions may indeed be questionable, however, you may remember than the previous Conservative led administration was not averse to some back handed dealing with Sandy Ezekial jailed for such. A plague on all their houses.

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