Teresa O’Neill’s plan to reduce the opportunity for scrutinising cabinet decisions may not be going entirely according to plan. Reducing the number of committees from seven to three (something like 28 meetings annually down to twelve) has resulted in large unwieldy committees and meetings that go on for ever. Yesterday’s didn’t end until nine minutes past eleven (219 minutes) despite the best efforts of chairman councillor Hunt to rush through things. By ten o’clock he had got to page 42 of the 194 page Agenda. After that councillors wanted to go home and proper scrutiny probably suffered.
I am still failing to recognise
any advantages to the new £42 million council chamber over the old one
apart from the fact the seats don’t emit an embarrassing creak when you move.
You may get an idea of what the audience of four is allowed to see (only two of
us remained until the end) from the associated photos.
The meeting was not especially interesting. We learned that Chief Superintendent Peter Ayling is leaving Bexley at the end of the month and will be replaced by Geoff Booth from the British Transport Police.
A lifeline was thrown to Belvedere’s Splash Park by council officer Toni Ainge which cabinet member Alex Sawyer was happy to consider. Additionally he confirmed that Danson Park will not be built over as certain scurrilous rumours have suggested. You will not have read that here!
While cabinet member Alex Sawyer was doing a pretty good job of appearing to be the honest broker and cabinet Member John Fuller put in his customary flawless performance on any education question. Cabinet member Philip Read did what he does best. Proving himself an idiot. Twice. Fortunately chairman James Hunt stepped in to curtail Read’s second personal attack on an opposition councillor.
More later, but not today.