Sunday, 27 January 2008

Et Tu Wood, Clare, Bell, McAtominey!

The Northern Herald News Desk is in receipt of copies of the original “Lunatic” email sent by Council Leader Paul Waggott to Brian T Scott, Head of Corporate Governance, South Tyneside Council. We are also in receipt off an anonymous tip off that a well known Councillor is under investigation by the police for matters relating to domestic violence. The excepted opinion is that he could be charged very soon. Legal advice is now being taken to ascertain whether this matter can be fully outlined in a post.

Returning to the emails. I have reproduced them below in full scan. Naturally, the text is not totally readable so I have outlined a summary of events.

On the 15th January at 11.18 a.m. Brian T Scott sent an email to Council Leader Paul Waggott outlining 8 questions which to date had been submitted to the Council for its next full meeting. After each question, Scott has told Waggott who will be answering the question, but he has also outlined who will be supplying the information that the Council’s Executive wants placed on public record.

Waggot replies to the email as such:

“I see the lunatics see trying to take over the asylum.
This is getting stupid.
I am sorry but there must be a way of stopping this abuse of the system

The message is sent via his hand held Blackberry, and amongst others, is circulated to the following cabinet members:

Councillor John Wood
Councillor Michael Clare
Councillor Ian Malcolm
Councillor Joanne Bell
Councillor Eddie McAtominey

The issues raised by the reply are very serious.

1. The referral to the public members who submitted questions as “lunatics” is an outrage. As members of the Borough, they have a right under the Councils own constitution to submit questions to their elected representatives. If the do so, they should not be open to unfounded and insulting accusations by the Council leader. The question must be asked – how many other times has Councillor Waggott officially expressed his total disdain for the electorate?

2. His request to stop the “abuse of the system” has two ramifications. Replying directly to the Head of Corporate Governance i.e. the Council’s legal advisor, he has asked him personally to find ways to manipulate the system and stop questions being put to Council. Scott ruled questions out of order for January’s meeting under extremely dubious interpretations of the Council’s Constitutions. Waggott clearly has a policy that the Constitution must be circumvented at all costs. In defence of the public, if the Council had not conducted its business over a 7 minute period in October and then placed a 20 maximum of debating time, none of this would be necessary.

3. Who runs this Council, elected officials or Executive members? Scott has outlined and named the full time official who will supply the information for each Councillor to answer their question. This has serious ramifications. As each Councillor sits on the committee which covers the relevant question topic, surely they are able to determine the tone of the answer. Have they not being paying attention, do they not know about policy requirements etc. Do they actually go to the meetings? This scenario is a reminder of the comment posted on a local site by Executive David Slater who said of a back slapping event organised by the Council “every year we set direction for the Council”. Not only do they set direction, they also tell them what to say.

4. Brian T Scott sent his email to 4 Cabinet members and Waggott forwarded his onto to the same group. There are ten members of the Cabinet (including Paul Waggott). The members who were not informed of the events are:

- Councillor William Brady
- Councillor James Foreman
- Councillor Thomas Hanson
- Councillor James Sewell

Clearly, there exists a “cabinet” within the “cabinet”, with Brady, Foreman, Hanson and Sewell not being viewed as important enough to be included in the “A Team” or as it is known on the “inside track”, the Saturday Club. I do notice however, that none of the recipients of the message have publicly distanced themselves from Councillor Waggott's accusations that the public are mentally bereft. Their guilt by association is clear for all to see.

5. Clearly, Councillor Waggott has some detractors in his midst, or in usual parlance, a mole. It suspect his arch nemesis may even be a “Badger”, such is the content of his comments on this site. His tenure is obviously coming to an end, and certain people want him out before he looses the election in May to the Independents. With 4 cabinet members on his distribution list, it doesn’t require much intelligence to guess where the leak came from. Watch your back Councillor Waggott, the knives are out!


Anonymous said...

I think Cllr Waggott should stand down NOW. And show the other Councillors they cant be slagging the public off just because things dont go there way. These Cllr`s are getting Damn good money. Is this the way for them to treat us?

two down one to go said...

i know exactly who is sharpening the knife and it is a prominent member of the Labour group.

Ahmed Khan said...

So how does the Chief Executive, Head of Corporate Governance and the Leader of the Council explain this one?

On closer examination it seems that one of my questions was in fact to be allowed. Brian T Scott confirmed in writing to Paul Waggott that Ed McAtominey would read out the answer to my question and that he would be briefed (in other words given the answer) by Rick O’Farrell.

It’s clear that this e-mail was sent by Mr Scott before the deadline for the submission of questions for inclusion on the agenda (which raise issues of integrity, confidentiality and political bias) and clearly indicates questions would be allowed. Yet within 15 minutes Paul Waggott responds saying that “there must be a way of stopping this”. Less than 24 hours later Mr Scott e-mails me to inform me that my question would not be allowed.

Draw your own conclusions … censorship or just plain gagging!

two down one to go said...

Gagging and if Waggggotttt gets his way a bloody blindfold, questions need to be asked about the exact position of the Chief Executive, Head of Corporate Governance and Executive Directors. Are they A Political or closet members of the Labour party.

Anonymous said...

I`ve just been on curlys Blog.
I think this man has lost the plot, Just like his Councillor Friends.