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News and Comment June 2012

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1 June - Did he or did he not? Did she or did she not?

Mayor Alan DowningThe man who was abused by councillor Downing for daring to be hard of hearing sent me the letter he received from the Standards Committee. I haven’t got it any more but I quoted from it on 16th May. It said that councillor Downing’s response could be considered disrespectful.

What I didn’t know is that two members of the Bexley Council Monitoring Group also complained. I’ve just received copies of the council’s replies and I'm confused. Whilst one confirms Downing showed “disrespect” the other declared him innocent. I shall assume the former, I remember it well, but apparently not everyone does.

Downing opened his mouth before engaging his brain appropriately enough at the Crime and Disorder Committee meeting, a meeting at which Fire Commander Cyril O’Brien was present. Members of BCMG engaged him in conversation at the recent police meeting. He claimed not to be able to remember anything at all about Downing’s outburst. Fire! Fire! Pants on fire?

Note: Paragraph 3 of the Members’ Code of Conduct says “You must treat others with respect” and “you must not do anything which may cause your authority to breach any of the equality enactments (as defined in section 33 of the Equality Act 2006).

Teresa O'NeillAnother issue revisited is the FOI response from the GLA about council leader Teresa O’Neill’s claim that Boris had offered her paid employment at City Hall. Mick Barnbrook, an English Democrat candidate at the recent election had made the Freedom of Information request to see if Boris had made offers. The response was an emphatic “No” but I have just spotted a possible Get Out of Jail Free card for Ms. O’Neill.

Mick’s response answers a different question. i.e. the GLA had made no offers. Mick definitely asked if Boris Johnson had offered which isn’t the same thing at all and bureaucrats have this nasty habit of twisting words to mislead the unwary. Mick has been sent back to the GLA to get his actual question answered and not one they may have preferred him to have asked.


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