Friday, 8 April 2011

Gravy Train arrives in Llangefni

I have been asked what I think of the choice of Commissioners now that they have all been named, so I will repeat the below letter I sent to the Daily Post earlier this week:
Ynys Môn residents were cheered to hear that WAG Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant had finally decided to take firmer action to sort out the problems at Anglesey County Council. However now that all five Commissioners have been named it increasingly appears that this latest intervention is less about turning around our Council and more about providing jobs for a favoured few elite retirees: a retired fellow Labour politician from Carl Sargeant’s home of Flintshire, a retired assembly member, a retired chief constable, a retired NHS Trust chief executive, and a retired council chief. With the exception of the latter one wonders exactly what skills the rest have that are relevant to a Local Authority in trouble? Furthermore two of them seemingly stepped down from their previous positions for health reasons but now feel well enough to accept the £500 a day fees the Commissioner role entails. With the average weekly wage on Ynys Môn being around £396, they will earn more in one day that most residents do in over a week. The Anglesey Central Railway may not have yet reopened but it appears that the gravy train has arrived in Llangefni nonetheless.
I feel that this latest, deeper intervention could have been a golden opportunity to treat the political problems which have been festering at the Council for the last 15 and more years. However, WAG's choices of commissioner are completely wrong for the job at hand – indeed have even written to the First Minister to complain about the selection of this one in particular.

I have now been campaigning for political reform at the Council through this blog for some time and I just feel that through bad advice and hasty decisions Ynys Môn has been let down once again.


Anonymous said...

It seems strange that we berated the Assembly for ignoring us, then send in half-wits dressed up as dim-wits, it's not right, it's not fair. We seem to be ignored or either have our complaints treated like we are constantly moaning. It's time for your famous campaigns to get the commissioners embarassed and maybe they will get the hint, that they are out of their depth. It's not a POLITICAL change we need in the Council, we need a CULTURAL change, the culture of the Council ruined the Island. Now, we have Commissioners who are not good enough for the taske we want them to do.

A Councillor said...

For those of us who know whats gone wrong, this intervention comes as no surprise. In fact a number of us have been calling for it for quite sometime.

Unfortunately we would have never believed that with intervention would come a bunch of well past their sell by date, dead beats, with enough baggage to sink a ship particularly AA.

Had the Corporate Management Team in 2008 stayed within their terms of Protocol regarding the letter of concern to the Wales Audit Office, in stead of attacking the messenger to cover up dishonesty, none of this would have ever happened, but thanks to Bowles's atrocious behavior, all is under Investigation and will be revealed.

kp said...

Druid, you must give these guys a chance. They only have two key matters to address:

1. To balance the books of IoACC .... to secure improved services for considerably less expense, to reduce council tax charges commensurately.

2. To ensure any wrongdoings within IoACC are suitably addressed through the formal and proper avenues.

Their worth will be on display for all to see after a period of twelve months, if not before.

So, let's give the guys a chance, at least for now.

Roydavidp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I think the word honest was too much, to hope for.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating but horrific reading on the Ombudmans report into planning and highways in the Council

Nightmare again.

Anonymous said...

I think you're begining to lose credibility on council issues, Paul. Any attempt at an answer to the problems has been critised by you. There's a lack of consistency in the blog these days. There isn't an election on is there?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the planning issue and the Ombudmans report it is only right and proper that such penalties are paid indirectly by the council officers concerned.

Such officers have underperformed and put the ratepayers of this island in a most unfortunate and perilous financial situation.

You should all resign forthwith and the salary savings made as a result of such should be used to pay the penalties owing.

Prometheuswrites said...

Re: Ombudsmans report posted on

The date given in section 21 must be in error as the 2010 date should be 2008.

Apart from the inaction of the council officers the question is why one planning permission, that would prevent the applicant of an earlier planing permission to obtain both planning permission and to trade from his premises, took six weeks to obtain, while the other took nearly three years to obtain and implement?

While the council was very slow in ensuring road safety they weren't so tardy in enforcing fines on the applicant, even though it would appear that their own inactions were perpetuating the situation that was the cause of the fine.

The council's response to the complaint procedure was to blame the original applicant and deny any resposibilty and accountability.

The Ombudsman has rightly held the council responsible and accountable for wrongly allowing the 'six week' second permission to be granted and failing to resolve the situation they had created to the detriment of the original applicant.

Observation regarding the complaints procedure:
In whose interests are the council and it's legal department operating?

From the Ombudsman's conclusions its obviously not the first applicant, or the rate payers, or road users. Council officers must have signs on their desks that says 'The Buck Doesn't Stop Here'.

And there we were reading reports telling us how much the council frontline work had improved. Maybe so, but not in the departments involved in this tale.

It will be interesting to see how the commissioners address the Ombudsman's recommendations when they review this report.

Anonymous said...

The report of the Ombudsman goes right to the heart of why we have intervention, a complete brake down and failure of Corporate Governance, nothing to do with the Councillors at all.

Ever likely David (Fascist) Bowles is doing a runner.
Sack them all.

Anonymous said...

Administration is a serious problem at IoACC and is consistent throughout Local Government. Saying that, IoACC are a lot worse than most.

Nepitism and the language barrier prevents the most suitable applicant getting the job and in the end your left with people in high places who are making important decisions who can barely read or write.

Anglesey needs to capitalise on its resources, which are tourism; agriculture; aquaculture (Fish/Shellfish Farming); Fish/Food processing; E-Business(Web Design/Administration); Tidal/Wind/Hydro Power and to fully exploit trade posibilities with Eire for example a Bonded Warehouse.

Why not renovate some of the Council Small Holdings and auction them off. This could provide Youth Training in fencing; stone Walling; ground-works and general labour skills.

Tourism is simple, you have to attract them and a waterpark and fair would do the trick.

Manufacturing is dead and that is down to cheap labour abroad.

Heavy Industry is suitable only for Holyhead due to deep water berthing and Anglesey Aluminium should make good this site to enable others to capitalise.

A Tidal/Wind power mix has the potential to generate enough green energy to keep our lights on forever and this can only help attract Green businesses to the Island.

Agriculture, we should ask the Council for their ideas since the majority are farmers.

An Insider said...

This is not the fist time the Highways Officer screwed up. In one case the same officer told lies to the Planning and Orders Committee to ensure a Councillor received approval for his application which puts people lives at risk.

This is one of the reasons why a certain Councillor resigned from the Planning and Orders Committee in protest of such deliberate dishonesty, he also raised questions about the planning application in this Ombudsman's report at the site visit.

Anonymous said...

The Ombudsman's report is 'seismic' it makes us all think how many other planning applications and planning permissions have been blighted by the ' Highways Departments' failings and bad practice.

It seems to be a great excuse to destroy planning permissions, dream up a Highway Objection, that will delay and disrupt any planning pemission application.

I recommend that every Planning Permission that has been interferred with by a ' Highways Objection' be declared to the commissioners for investigation and consideration, urgently.

Anonymous said...

Time for Councillor Deakin to bring this matter to the Commissioners especially if other Planning Permissions have been blighted by the Highways Scam.

Anonymous said...

Cllr Durkin has an extensive file of Planning issues that need to be properly investigated which David Bowles and the former Managing Director along with the council's legal department have been covering up.

It is believed that Cllr Durkin, because of the abusive behavior he has had to tolerate and the bogus complaints to the Ombudsman by Bowles, has just been sitting back waiting for this Ombudsman's Report to be finalized before implementing his actions.

The new commissioner will need to take note. Cllr Durkin will be taking no prisoners and any further attempts to cover up will be dealt with openly, transparently and very publicly.

An independent report by a Planning Inspector, commissioned by the Ombudsman, already shows that the Director of Legal Services new house was not built to plan and that a retrospective planning application had to be made, hence the three year the cover up?

Something tells me that the Commissioners, Carl Sargeant and David Bowles may come to wish they'd never heard of Anglesey County Council.

Anonymous said...

If the Commissioners find any serious Highway department scam, that involved planning permission, then they should either get the Police in or an enquiry or the best result would be to dissolve the Council immediately and then have a thorough Assembly or Parliamentary Commission into these allegations and incidents.

Anonymous said...

Highway Department and Planning scams

Wait till Durkin opens up. Nothing but a public inquire will do especially when he rolls out the mega money, pocket lining, Grant scams, involving Council officers, Builders and agents.

Anonymous said...

If you are easily upset and are of a sensitive nature do not read this link, especially as one of the new commissioners was the boss of this Council. You have been warned.

Really painful how Council's cover up.

Anonymous said...

Follow a FOIA request the following came to light.

With regard to Housing Repair Grants and Essential Repair Grants the authority confirmed that the Authority approved 1,043 since 1996, at a cost of £18.109.410. It also includes the Energy Efficiency Grant (additional spend of £597.495.

Town Improvements Grants (TIG), are processed by the PLANNING DEPARTMENT,but the records are held with the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG). From 1997 up until 2010 legal responsibility for TIG schemes lay with WAG.

Anonymous said...

anon 02:51 - I don't believe you need a bonded warehouse to trade with Ireland as we are both EU member states. Apart from which everything is more expensive there anyway. Even Guiness is cheaper over here even though it has come from Dublin.

Anonymous said...

Anon 15:31:- Everything is far more expensive in Ireland and that is why Holyhead could cash-in on Irish trade, especially if the Euro strengthens against the Pound. I recall Woolworths in Holyhead used to be packed with Irish when the punt was on par with the pound.

Duty Free shopping has been abolished between EU Member States. UK Bonded Warehouses are full Continental wines and beers which have been declared to HM Customs and Import Duty deferred until released. There is no law stopping you importing a ton of Tobacco from Belgium provided you declare it and pay the Duty.

Anonymous said...

There is no law stopping you importing a ton of Tobacco from Belgium provided you declare it and pay the Duty.

Alcohol and tobacco

When travelling from one EU country to another, you can take tobacco and alcohol products with you for personal use but not for resale.

Under EU law, you do not have to prove the goods are for your personal use if you are carrying fewer than:

800 cigarettes
400 cigarillos
200 cigars
1 kg of tobacco
10 litres of spirits
20 litres of fortified wine
90 litres of wine (including a maximum of 60 litres of sparkling wines)
110 litres of beer.
Some countries allow you to carry more than these limits without proving they are for personal use. Check with the national authorities what their thresholds are.

If you are carrying more tobacco or alcohol than the amounts automatically allowed for personal use, you may be asked:

to prove that they are for your personal use
to produce proof of purchase (receipt or invoice).
If you are travelling with tobacco or alcohol and you stay within the personal-use thresholds, you won't have to pay excise duty in the EU country you are going to.

Anonymous said...

You can bring in a ton of tobacco under the above rules without paying duty provided you can show it's for personal use.

People are bringing over tons of the stuff from France and you can buy fags and baccy under the table in a lot of pubs in Holyhead and everywhere else. As for booze, yiu can bathe in canned Stella that's been brought over and is being flogged around the place. All brought over by the van-loa under the pretence of 'personal use'. 99 times out of 100 you won't even get stopped .

I'd give up but it's so cheap to smoke now i's bloody pointless. (B&H from France 3.50 a pack.

Anonymous said...

Has Anglesey County Council already amalgamated with Gwynedd behind every ones back?

According to Cllr Tom Jones, of Anglesey County Council, they are certainly involved in making political decisions for Anglesey!

In an email to Councillors, dated February 15th 2011, Cllr Tom Jones, the then Portfolio holder for Finance say's, regarding the new 30 member alliance, which was to take over the council with agreement from AO MP and IWJ AM,That:

"During the day the 30 member agreement has been rejected by the Recovery Board, the Interim M.D. and by Gwynedd Council".

So has an amalgamation taken place or not and if not. Why is Gwynedd County Council being allowed an input on to Anglesey County Council's political decisions?

Anonymous said...

There is no law preventing a Wine merchant sourcing his goods in France and importing a thousand bottles provided he pays the Import Duty.

If he does not want to pay the full Import Duty on arrival then it can be kept the wine in a bonded warehouse and Import Duty is paid when the goods leave the warehouse.

Anonymous said...

Cllr Tom Jones Email now on Anglesey - Island of opportunity web site.

Media Member said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mr Justice Bowles said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

There is no law preventing a Wine merchant sourcing his goods in France and importing a thousand bottles provided he pays the Import Duty.

If he does not want to pay the full Import Duty on arrival then it can be kept the wine in a bonded warehouse and Import Duty is paid when the goods leave the warehouse.

No but there's such a thing as not being a moron. You will have to conmpete not only with Tesco's (OddBins couldn't), but also with white van man who (damn fine chappie that he is) can provode JP Chenet at only 2.50 a bottle by the case. Allegedly. I never told you that.

Anonymous said...

So has Anglesey County Council been amalgamated with Gwynedd on the sly or not?

Anonymous said...

Well there we go. The idea of a bonded ware house was instantly dismissed based on misinformation.

I bet the doubting Anons probably work for Anglesey Economic Development Unit or Mentor Mon.

For the record, Stena are considering building a bonded warehouse at Plas Cybi Industrial site.

Anonymous said...

Wine merchants are not in direct competition with supermarkets. You don't go to Tesco's if you want to buy £10,000 worth of wine.


Anonymous said...

Web Administration is a growing employment sector which Anglesey could capitalise on, simply because it's a nice place to live and work. Would you want your kids growing up in the Inner City because you work there.

Web Administrators updates the content of the site, therefore there is no need to pay a Web-Designer stupid money to update your site.

Anonymous said...

The people are not guilty of fighting for a better Anglesey.

Anonymous said...

First They Came ,by Pastor Niemoller

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was
no one left
To speak out for me.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Wine merchants are not in direct competition with supermarkets. You don't go to Tesco's if you want to buy £10,000 worth of wine.

And who do wine merchants sell to at scales of £10K? Wouldn't be independent retailers by any chance would it? And who pray are they competing with? Wouldn't be supermarkets and high street chains like BoozeBusters by any chance?

If this were a major international airport or a major international shipping port you would have a point but it isn't so you haven't

The Red Flag said...

I must confess this argument about Bonded Warehousing intrigues me. I can see the ferry companies possibly wanting one to store stuff for selling on their ships but most of the stiff on the ships is available cheaper from major retailers and the internet.

So who else would use a bonded warehouse in Holyhead as opposed to Dublin, Liverpool and Manchester? Possibly stuff in transit maybe? I thought so long as the containers remained sealed then that was fine for stuff in transit. Certainly my mates who drive for Stobbarts supplying the garrisons in Germany carry large quantities of booze and fags both tax and duty free and they overnight in lay-bys.

So just out if interest, who would need to use a bonded warehouse here?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Insider said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
In the Know. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

What have you got to say for yourself now Bowles?

Anonymous said...

Any chance of the Planning Inspectors report been posted?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gwalchmaisonian said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

East Midlands Strategic Health Authority.28th October 2009.

"David Bowles was suspended over concerns about his Leadership".

Sounds very familiar.

The Editor said...

BBC News 28th October 2009-
NHS body cleared of bully claims
An independent review has cleared the East Midlands regional NHS authority of "bullying and harassing" hospital managers in Lincolnshire.

The review took place after claims a bullying culture at the East Midlands Strategic Health Authority (SHA) was endangering patients' lives.

David Bowles resigned as chairman of the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) after making the complaints.

The review found the SHA had acted "fairly and patiently".

Mr Bowles has described the review as a "whitewash".

He said his decision to quit in July came because he was being put under pressure to meet government targets which were not necessarily in the patients' interest.

'Opportunity missed'

In response the SHA said he was suspended over concerns about his leadership.

NHS national chief executive David Nicholson ordered the independent review after receiving Mr Bowles' complaints.

It has concluded there was no evidence of bullying and harassment of the hospitals trust by the health authority.

However, the report said lessons could be learned across the NHS to combat "firm performance management being interpreted as bullying or harassment" as pressures on managers increase during the recession.

Seems that this Bowles chap is an expert in the field of "Bullying and Harrassment" ??

Anonymous said...

This David Bowles is certainly an "expert in the field of" creating trouble to suit his own vile agenda.

What he's still doing here, good only knows.

Anonymous said...

Councillor Hefin Thomas, Pleads Guilty

Groundhog Day said...

Anon @ 1332

Pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. Seems the Teflon coating is working as well as ever.+

Anonymous said...

Supermarkets source their wine direct from the producers.

If you want to know about Intra-Stat then please feel free to get your head around it.

I charge £100 per hour which is better than getting duff advice of people who think they know what they are talking about.

Coincidentally, my mate is a wine merchant and he uses a bonded warehouse in England and he sells his wine to local hotels and restaurants and he makes a legal living out of it.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Double Anon said...

Sounds like your shitting yourself over something ANONYMOUS. Wonder what it could be? tut tut.

Anonymous said...

Keep up your good work Cllr Durkin. We need more Councillors like you.

The Red Flag said...

@15:45 Anonymous said...

Is that a reply to my request as to who would want a bonded warehouse here?

I agree that supermarkets source direct from suppliers but they would use centralised hubs for resupply surely so as to fit in with their 'just-in-time' re-stocking that is run automatically through their bar-coding. They wouldn't have a need for one here, likewise the major wholesalers I would imagine.

Would your mate have a large enough business in North West Wales to justify the building and staffing of one here? In which case how come he hasn't already?

I assume HMRC don't man these things being as they have got to reduce in size?

Did there used to be one here? If not then why is there a need for one now and can that need cover the cost?

Anonymous said...

We need a bit more clarity here Druid, we have postings about all sorts, from bonded warehouses to keep the dolies in rollup tobacco to corporate incompetence, which one gets the deleted button? Take your pick Druid, are you for a clean up of politics on Anglesey or leading us all down the garden path, by deleting issues that are critical, but keeping the mundane,

There are serious issues going on in Llangefni that need publishing, the main being, the incompetent Council destroying the Island before joining Gwynedd.

The Red Flag said...

Paul The Druid has to remove postings that may breach certain laws. He wouldn't have to if people registered with their details and then only registered users allowed to post. I wouldn't have a problem wit that but many would.

As for the bonded warehouse malarky, someone else brought that up and I'm curious - I know nothing about them but wonder why, if one is needed, it was never needed before.

Anonymous said...

Double ANON at 17.58 and again ANON
at 18.18 typical Durkin self promoting and a stupid reply again.
Try reading first if you can, and as usual a nasty as well as a ridiculous reply

Anonymous said...

The Duty Free concession on goods purchased between EC member states has been abolished.

Import Duty still applies, and if you put goods in bond then you pay the Import Duty when you break the bond by removing the goods. In other words you defer paying Import Duty.

Double Anon said...

To the very poorly Anon at 20:22.

My goodness, you have got it bad today, never mind, keep taking the tables or has it got past that by now?

Perhaps something significant has happened to your mate today. Never mind, It could all turn out for the best and be your turn next?

The Red Flag said...

anon 20:46, we know this. What we are trying to establish is why does one need to be on Anglesey? Is there a big enough demand from local business to cover the cost? If one is needed, how come it's only become apparent now? Who will man it if HMRC is to reduce in size?

Insider said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sweet Pea said...

Does anyone know whats this twaddle at 20:22 and 23:12 is on about?

Anonymous said...

Excellent Blog but apart from the few, the standard of intelligence and the knowledge of how to put brain in gear before opening mouth is pretty grim.

Anonymous said...

Any news from the Commissioners? since their arrival nothing seems to be happening? Apart, from an increase in sales of custard creams biscuits.