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News and Comment October 2012

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1 October (Part 2) - Bexley council publishes the confirmation. It is stuffed full of overpaid liars

The petition
Do you remember Elwyn Bryant’s petition? He took up the Conservative Government’s idea of a £100,000 cap on salary packages at the Local Government level and collected 2,219 signatures after drawing residents’ attention to the excessive salaries being paid to Bexley’s top brass. Bexley council got very upset by that; O’Neill didn’t want to talk about it at all but the Labour leader Chris Ball said he thought salaries should be even higher. The pay of the Head of the Civil Service would be a reasonable benchmark according to his good socialist principles. When cornered at the Boris Johnson roadshow Teresa O’Neill excused the massive handouts by saying they represented very good value for money. She ordered a press release under the title ‘Setting the record straight’ to say Elwyn’s figures were all wrong - even though he had copied them from the council’s own website.

Bexley's press releaseBexley council put its Head of Committee Services under pressure to find an excuse to put the petition straight into the bin and they found a useful idiot in the shape of councillor Don Massey to rubberstamp their offence against democracy. They thought they had got away with their lies, but eventually the truth comes out.

Only a truly crooked and dishonest organisation would feel the need to create such a farce in the first place. The decent and upstanding thing to do would be to respond factually and let reasonable people make up their own minds, but of course that is not Bexley council’s way. Their way is always the dishonest, undemocratic, shameful and self-serving way.

A council built on deception has to control the agenda or they will be constantly caught out, hence the bundle of lies designed to prevent it.

Desperate to discredit the petition and try to snuff out the story their most scathing comment claimed that “the petition is inaccurate and misleading”. Well I suppose, in a manner of speaking, it was.

The petitioners copied figures from the council’s website and claimed the following salary packages:

The Chief Executive, Will Tuckley £208,983
Mark Charters, Director of Education & Social Care £167,343
Peter Ellershaw, Director of Environment & Wellbeing £167,343
Mike Ellsmore, Director of Finance & Resources £136,617
Paul Moore, Director of Customer & Corporate Services £136,617

The 2011/12 Bexley accounts (pages 64-65) show that the actual amounts for 2011-12 were:

Will Tuckley £234,507
Mark Charters £184,201
Peter Ellershaw £206,072
Mike Ellsmore £150,383
Paul Moore £154,297

Maureen HolkhamIs it any wonder that these executives did not want their pay packages discussed? These are obscene and out of control amounts. A mere five individuals costing residents just shy of a million pounds every single year. No wonder the country is in dire financial straits.

And who do you think is responsible for the Communications team and ‘Setting the record straight’? If I had to guess it has all the hallmarks of the bumbling (†) Maureen Holkham, the Deputy Director of Corporate Policy & Communications who is so good with numbers generally; and perhaps John Ferry pitched in too as he is the Corporate Communications manager. Quelle surprise, people working at Bexley council are again shown to be demonstrably dishonest. They just never seem to learn, do they?

† I have seen papers which show that Maureen Holkham signed off a lie which secured the dismissal of a whistle blower. The documents were of a technical nature. It’s not impossible given the intellect displayed at council meetings, that Ms. Holkham didn’t understand what she was putting her name to.

Research and original draft report by Nicholas Dowling


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