Sunday, 20 November 2011

Local Democracy on Ynys Môn to be denied for another year

BBC Wales are reporting that next May's local elections to Anglesey Council may be postponed for a year. The BBC merely says it is a possibility, but the fact that someone has decided to sneakily leak the story to the media on a Sunday makes it fairly clear that this has actually been decided.

When the Commissioners were first sent into Ynys Môn back in March this year, the Local Government Minister, Carl Sergeant, floated the possibility that Anglesey wouldn't go to the polls until May 2013 (instead of May 2012 like all other Welsh Councils) in order to allow the Commissioners to complete their work and for new electoral boundaries to be put in place on Ynys Môn. However, since then there has been precious little information about whether to not next year's local elections would go ahead or not. In fact, at a Commissioners Board Meeting held in Llangefni on September 5th (which I attended), the assembled Councillors asked the Commissioners present whether the elections would go ahead on May 3rd, 2012 or not — however farcically none of the Commissioners or Senior Officers knew and the Chief Executive was consequently asked to write to Carl Sergeant to find out.

Since then, nothing had been heard… until now. And instead of having an official announcement that local democracy on Ynys Môn is to be suspended for a further 12 months, we are instead informed through the backdoor thanks to a sneaky leak to the BBC on a Sunday.


The Red Flag said...

They should postpone them until all the bad apples have died and can't stand again.

Richard Sletzer said...

Democracy should be restored in Anglesey as soon as possible....but the interests of the electorate would surely not be well-served if former councillors were allowed to stand for election again. They have surely lost all credibility.

We all know that the key stage in being elected as a councillor is not the election itself but the preceding nomination process.

It would be interesting to see just how these "independent" councillors came to be nominated in the first place. Who nominated them? ....And why? ... and what connections were there between them?

Meanwhile what has happened to the Anglesey Recovery Board? Does it still exist?

mairede thomas said...

It is an outrage that local democracy has been suspended since March.

The citizens of Anglesey no longer have the democratic process to ensure their views and interests are properly represented and reflected in the plans the Council is making for the island.

This is autocratic government, and in principle it is no different from what is happening in Italy and Greece.

Without the proper democratic underpinning the Joint Local Development Plan and the Supplementary Planning Guidance on On Shore Wind Farms that are currently being drawn up by the council will not be valid or lawfull.

The Commissioners should have called for elections earlier this year, there is no good reason to call off the May elections.

The Council Taxpayers may decide 'No Taxation Without Representation'.

The Red Flag said...

Today's Wales On Line:-

Mairede, it has to be said that the voters of Anglesey are a lot to blame for this. They have consistently returned to Office the same uselesss gits and lo and behold those same useless gits have carried on as before - what was it that Freud said about the signs of madness? Doing the same thing but expecting a different result?

This in turn reflects badly on the parties who in turn have consistently nominated and re-nominated those same useless gits to start with and also reflects badly on various 'interested groups' who have nominated so-called Independents.

There's more scandal brewing with the PWC findings on top of all the other rubbish we already know about and the consequences of which we see around us daily.

The current budget sums are wrong and there is a budget black hole that has to be made good by even more cuts and I believe, at least two Officers are currently suspended (not in connection with the budget or financial wrong-doings I hasten to add).

And you know as well as I do that if there were an election tomorrow, most of that sorry-arsed lot would be returned with a virtual walk-over in most cases.

Sargent does not want certain individuals to remain as councillors. He will do all in his power to ensure that happens up to and including delaying elections and quite right to.

Jeff Jones said...

The report is a good example of how boundary reviews should be conducted. Hardly surprising given the experience of all three commissioners as local authority CEOs and Returning Officers. The real question is why the 2012 local authority elections across the whole of Wales are not being postponed until 2013 to ensure that all votes in the election carry equal weight. In my own borough next May one ward will have as few as 603 voters whilst others have over 4200. Another advantage of postponement would be that it avoids local and Assembly elections being held on the same day in 2016. Something that seemed to be forgotten when the Assembly extended its life to avoid a clash with a UK elction in 2015.

Unknown said...

The rotten borough of Anglesey about sums this place up. I have no doubt the brown envelope brigade will be rushing through some really unpopular planning decisions before time is called on these odious scumbags!

Anonymous said...

The reality of the affairs of this Council are unfolding, fit for purpose and a waste of time and money are words that can describe this vile disease that we have allowed to ferment and fester for years.

The commissioners were installed to prevent further disgrace, the powers that were afforded onto the Council were simply too much, it was to open to abuse and the way they abused it all, was a disgrace. We are certain of one thing, that the good old days of helping each one another have gone, but the main disgrace that should be looked at, is how many people complained to our MP and AM about this horrific Council and were refused help? So to be sure of one thing, Democracy in Anglesey has ceased to exist years ago, the day we allowed them to do what they want, when they wanted to whoever they wanted was the day we all failed. I'm not proud to be from Anglesey, I'm ashamed, Democracy let us all down, when the Council and the Elected abused us all. I'm glad Carl Sargeant sent in the commissioners, it was the only way to stop the abuse, the abuse of the priviledged and the powerful against the normal person. We failed as a people to stop the mess, blame yourself for voting for failure..

richard sletzer said...

Would I be right in assuming that all 40 disgraced Anglesey councillors are still on the payroll - even though they haven't had to do anything for months?

.....And would I also be right in assuming that the decision to defer elections (much though I agree with it) will mean they will all continue to collect their Basic Allowances, their Special Responsibility Allowances, their Care Allowance,their Travel Allowances and their Subsistence Allowance for another 12 months .....during which time they will do nothing?

Anonymous said...

It does matter to a few decent people if they still receive their allowances, but what matters to most decent people is whether they are fit for the allowances that they get paid for.

The majority of decent people wonder why the mess we had was allowed to go on for so long, yet the powers to be allowed it to continue.

The concerns that affect the wellbeing of this zero rated Council, is whether any wrongdoings uncovered will be made good, or whether they will remain hidden and buried away, just like the cars that were buried in fields.

No tonic will cure the people of this diseased council, the only cure is the continued administration by the Commissioners and any mistake(s) uncovered investigated.

For the people to be negative against the commissioners is a shot in the arm for the old ways, we must support Carl Sargeant and the commissioners, and let's see if the Commissioners contact the people who have been victims of the failed Democracy in Anglesey.

So in a nutshell, they are all getting their allowances, but trying desperatly to make a fuss of how Democracy works for them, the failed Council but DID NOT work for the victims of this horrific club for favours. " Your turn next!" that was their favourite quote in planning meetings, so don't mourn those days!

The Red Flag said...

The majority of decent people wonder why the mess we had was allowed to go on for so long, yet the powers to be allowed it to continue.

The mess continued because the voters - despite knowing what was going on - kept returning them. There is nothing the 'powers that be' can do about them just because they were rubbish - that's what we have elections for, intervention is reserved for more serious breaches than being a muppet and those breaches need substantiating before they can be acted on. The 'powers that be' could have intervened far quicker if people such as Officers who knew what certain councilors were doing and could prove it, had been prepared to speak out publicly - whistleblow. Equally, those councillors who were supposedly 'good' but again knew what was going in and said nothing publicly must shoulder their share of the blame. There are few if any totally blameless people out of those 40 councillors and the councils managerial Officers and Heads of Department. The corrupt are guilty and the non-corrupt are equally as guilty for the 'see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil' position they adopted putting 'loyalty' to the council higher than what should have been their ultimate loayalty - us.

But ultimately this is the fault of us the voters who not only accepted piss-poor standards from inept and corrupt people of limited ability, who thought it was perfectly fair game to abuse their position by taking advantage of advance knowledge themselves, or tipping off friends and family, or abusing the tendering process or attempting to pervert the outcome of certain things in return for 'favour'.

We the voters allowed that to continue - some through not voting, some through voting blindly along out-dated and no longer valid political party lines and while that continued then until a significant number of councillors had abused their position long enough, publicly enough and badly enough there was very little the 'powers that be' could do. Except watch in disbelief.

And while those councillors continue to refuse to stand down permanently then there is little the powers that be can do except stop the elections.

They can pay them a special payment not to stand again - but can you imagine the anger that would erupt if certain councillors were paid a hefty wedge during these austere and uncertain times to go quietly?

mairede thomas said...

Red Flag while our democratic system is not perfect it's better than nothing, and suspending elections til the voters can be trusted to get it right is, as you well know, the Dictators old trick.
We don't want to pay the existing Councillors for doing nothing now and for the mess of the past so we need to get new people voted in as soon as possible. I fail to see why boundary changes can't be sorted in time but if its really an impossible timescale then put the elections back a few weeks but not a year.

The Red Flag said...

mairede, the flaw in your argument is we aren't going to get "new people voted in".

Most of the bad apples will stand again and most of them will win again. Easily.

Richard Sletzer said...

So that we all know what kind of ballpark figures we're talking about here - this is a list of what councillors were paid in total for the last financial year (2010-2011) (as recorded on the Anglesey County COuncil website

CHORLTON WJ MR £25,069.96
EVANS K MR £13,183.20
EVERETT CL MR £25,360.74
HUGHES DR R £19,790.30
JONES GO MR £17,516.59
PARRY GO MR £15,279.61
PARRY RG MR £29,969.97
ROBERTS GW MR £12,960.00
SCHOFIELD E MR £12960.00
THOMAS HW MR £22,563.25
ROBERTS JA MR £20,483.87
DAVIES EG MR £27,317.60
FOWLIE PM MR £5,688.00 I/To 08/09/10
HUGHES FM MRS £21,264.00
HUGHES RL MR £26,799.00
HUGHES WI MR £27,450.40
JONES HE MR £26,694.61
JONES RL MR £14,051.42
OWEN RL MR £21,976.80
JONES OG MR £11,881.84
JONES AM MR £14,529.12
JONES TH MR £26,967.00
OWEN B MR £22,294.12
ROGERS PS MR £12,960.00
JONES E MR £14,131.53
DAVIES L MR £14,032.80
DURKIN BK £12,960.00
EVANS J MR £12,960.00
HUGHES KP MR £14,925.55
HUGHES TL MR £13,872.62
JONES R MR £13,944.00
JONES RD MR £14,759.40
MCGREGOR C MR £42,295.38
MEDI R MS £12,960.00
OWEN JV MR £21,873.50
ROBERTS E MR £13,225.60
WILLIAMS I MR £21,852.82
WILIIAMS JP MR £12,960.00
WILLIAMS S MR £21,340.19
HUGHES WT MR £12,960.00
DEW RA MR £4,788.00 O/From 18/11/10

The total paid to councillors in the last financial year was £750,852.79.

This financial year -perhaps understandably - Anglesey County Councillors are having to tighten their belts. Their Basic Allowance has been reduced from £12,960 pa to £11,664 pa and, I am reliably informed, no other allowances like "Special Responsibility Allowance, Dependants Allowance, Chair Allowance, Vice Chair Allowance,Subsistence Allowance and Travel Allowance are being paid been paid. (I'm not sure about pension contributions though).

Even so, that still means that this year and next Anglesey Council Tax-Payers will fork out close to £1million to 40 lucky councillors who in return are doing absolutely nothing.

Andrew said...

I guarantee the ones who previously claimed the Special Responsibility Allowance in previous years will now take a step back and let others do it for nothing. This will positively identify the parasites.

Most of the Councillors are on final salary pensions anyway paid by the Paymaster General after taking early retirement from the Police, Ambulance or Fire Brigade.

If push came to shove and allowances slashed to under £8,000 they would not bother because it's all about the money, plain and simple.

I know what they are, who they represent and how they get away with it. They will be met with a bucket of water if they knock my door begging to be re-elected.

I'm hoping some of them will be behind bars by 2013 anyway.

Anonymous said...

R.Sletzer - Those figures don't include the £50,000+ legal fees of Durkin and Rogers that IOACC are footing.

Does IOACC still have a legal department after all the Ombudsman and Grants debacle? - I was told that some IOACC correspondences were being answered by Conway Council's legal dept.

The Red Flag said...

It's a bit of a 'Devil and the deep blue sea' scenario.

The councillors still perform some of their roles which is probably why they still retain their standard allowance but until there are elections there is little more that can be done by us or the WG to them. Likewise you won't get much more out of a huge chunk of them without giving them more money.

So until we can get rid of them there's not a lot more that can be done until an election. But if we have the election before the re-organisation most of the dross will keep their seats and then we're stucjk for another 5 years.

So in that context chucking away 750K is a bargain. I'd rather not have an election until the bad ones are either debarred, imprisoned, dead or otherwise unable to stand. Even if it takes 10 years.

In the Know. said...

Anon at 13:30
I'm told that Barrie Durkin's Legal fee's, having called most of the Council's Corporate Management Team, past and present, Dr Gibbons, Carl Sargeant, plus a bunch Councilors to give evidence, his legal fees will be at least £250,000 then there's the law suits to follow.

Maybe this is why the legal department which is on its last legs have had to go to outside Solicitors for more advice again at the Tax Payers expense. All this whilst the council is trying to evict their small holding tenants and their families over a pittance.