Monday, 5 December 2011

Commissioners behind closed doors. (Updated)

In the newly delivered December edition of Anglesey Council's "Môn News" propaganda sheet, in a section entitled "Anglesey's Commissioners — making good progress", one of their top three priorities is listed as:

"fully engaging with the people of Anglesey to reflect their views and priorities".

Furthermore, one of the Commissioners is then specifically quoted as saying:

"Improving the way we engage with people is vital. In time, we hope to see community engagement play a key role in the way Anglesey develops and provides future services".

Meanwhile, we discover from the published agenda of this Thursday's Full Council meeting that item 15, "Commissioners 2nd Quarterly Progress Report" will be made only after the "exclusion of the press and public".

"Community engagement" in action? "Democratic renewal"? Hmmmm.

UPDATE: The Council gets in touch to say:
"The draft Q2 progress report has been forwarded to the Minister for consideration and he will be meeting with Commissioners next week to discuss its contents.

Subject to the Minister's views, we anticipate that the report will be published on our website within the next fortnight.

Members will be provided with a verbal briefing on what is contained within the draft report during Full Council on Thursday.

The verbal briefing will take place in the closed session because the report is still in its draft form and has not been agreed with the Minister."
Which is all well and good. However I'm afraid that at a time when the Minister is both (a) directing the Local Government Boundaries Commission for Wales to exclusively introduce multi member wards throughout Ynys Môn with the sole aim of achieving a certain election result (i.e. the elimination of Independents), and (b) is "minded" to postpone Ynys Môn's local elections until 2013, things are beginning to appear more and more anti-democratic.


Anonymous said...

I'm dismayed to read that the Commissioners have only just realised that the ability of the Commissioners to engage with the Public has not been made more transparent. A lot of by standing people are looking forward to a new Dawn of this Council, and are depending on this new birth coming at the price of burying the horrendous past performance and bad " mistakes" I hope that this is not the case.

For this Dawn of the new Council we must never forget their past. People have been seriously hurt by them in the past, and if the Commissioners want to make a realistic attempt ar communicating with the people they must, admit the problems, get rid of the wrongdoers and explain to the victims why it happened.

Systematic abuse for years then a burial of files is no substitute for a new Council. We need these Commissioners to be honest and to uncover the past, in detail and apologise to the victims.

Anonymous said...

It's important to read between the lines - however the very nature of doing so makes interpretation of the gap difficult.

For instance, reading between the lines in this BBC article - "Troubled council's staff shake-up" -

The final quote from Mr Davies, regarding senior management changes: will "... in time, allow this authority to fully engage in the Welsh government's regional and national collaboration agenda on efficiency and cost savings."

That "Welsh government's regional and national collaboration agenda" would be mayhap the sharing of resources across councils ... AKA merging with Gwynedd ... or not

Mind the Gap :)

Anonymous said...

Commissioners were brought in to bring this unruly rabble under control, they were elected to listen to the people, now we need to know if the Commissioners are listening to the people or are they ignoring them, again.

The key role of the commissioners is not to represent value for money but to bring back Truth and Honesty back to the seat of the Council, if they need help to speak to the people ask the Commissioners to advertise in the local press, to ask the people what the main problems are.............

kp said...

Sorry, but I personally don't give too hoots about Anglesey democracy, I care about the cost benefit equation.

Our rates are way too high, our services far too numerous, the salaries we pay and entitlements received far too geneorous.

Cut cut cut, and if that means cut democracy too then so say I.

The Red Flag said...

KP, most of the council work force earns less than 15.5K for a full time week.

Council Tax on Anglesey is below the Welsh average and below the English average - especially when the precepts for fire, police etc are removed and over which neither the council nor the voter has any control whatsoever.

mairede thomas said...

My concern over lack of democracy on this island grows by the day. If some very big mistakes are made while democracy is suspended, and if the opportunity in May to elect our representatives is taken from us, that may leave us in a worse position than if we had had recourse to sacking every single Councillor. Ultimately the WAG will get the blame but that will not solve the problems we get left with.

kp said...

'...things are beginning to appear more and more anti-democratic.'

This may be true but I, for one, am prepared to put a lot more faith in the commissioners than I am in any single one of our elected councillors.

Indeed, I'd get rid of the current council, its officers and members, and everyone else if I had the choice.

It's time we started again, but this time from ground zero!

Anonymous said...

Why the hue and cry about Democracy and the lack of the same in Anglesey?
This whole " Democractically elected" structure was allowed to become a festering poisonous entity, UNTIL the people argued and publicly declared their hatred for this monster of a Council.

At that crucial moment after years of bullying, harassing and ignoring the people the Commissioners arrived, not to support and help the tormentors but to see for themselves how bad things were here.
The writings on this blog site painted a very dim view and very low opinion of the elected, it gave the impression that the elected represented themselves and NOT the people. Democracy had gone out of control.

We forget that this Council and the way it behaved AGAINST the people became a laughing stock, we were the ones who pleaded for the Commissioners to come in, and now they are here, we must realise that the medicine they are giving to this Council, must seem bitter to us, but it is the only way to CURE this badly influenced Council that we had for generations.

Any way forward is better than none, and any discovery of malicious indifference and abuse should not go unpublished. This is what Democracy means to the people of Anglesey. No rewards for bad behaviour.

Who do we blame for the arrival of the Commissioners? We blame empty headed dreamers, and a failed system of equality, the Council was only equal to those that lived and breathed in the system, the outsider, you and me, were denied Democracy by this Council years ago.

This is what the Commissioners are doing, tearing up the old boy rule book written by these empty headed dreamers and rewriting the rule book that INCLUDES the wishes, the wants and the Rights of the people of Anglesey. God help us if the wrongdoers get rewarded for being abusers.

mairede thomas said...

I attended the public meeting held last night by Penmynydd and Star Community Council. Between 150-200 people attended, some were unable to squeeze into the hall. The Community Council Chair did a good job as almost to a man (and certainly every woman and child) was opposed to the plans being discussed for an industrial size wind turbine development in the community.
About half the people were from the community and they spoke with passion about their worries about the noise and flicker that are known to cause health problems; and about the loss of jobs that will result from the destruction of the landscape that is the main attraction for tourists and visitors; and their fear that high quality businesess will not be attracted to come to the island when they can't offer skilled staff a good quality of life; and the worry that homeowners will not be able to sell their houses as no one will want to come here to live in the shadow of the turbines.
Despite the strength of public feeling and genuine concerns, the Councillors voted 3 to 2 in favour of building the first of what could be many turbines - a 71 meter high turbine that will be seen for miles around. I understand that one of the Community Councillors who voted in favour of this turbine is planning 3 turbines on his own land.
So I looked at the two latest County Council Planning Meeting minutes and agendas and noted that nearly half of all applications being considered were from Councillors - and many of these are for massive wind turbine developments!
It looks as if some people certainly will be rewarded for their contributions at the Council.

The Red Flag said...

Any suggestion that this has anything to do with exploiting subsidies is of course outrageous.

Support the Comissioners in getting the new electoral wards in place then run anti-turbine candidates against them.

Anonymous said...

Red Flag - if the elections are postponed and don't happen until a year and a half, it will be too late to run anti-turbine candidates...

The Red Flag said...

No it won't. Be a couple of years at least yet before they start chucking them up.

Unless they've pulled a fast one and got everything already sorted and the PP was just a rubber stamp exercise, in which case even next year is to late.