Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it
-The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
As previously reported on Wirralleaks the “Preliminary investigation into issues raised in the Report in the Public Interest in relation to the role of the Director of Technical Services in the procurement and management of HES contract” was sneaked out last minute on Christmas Eve ( and we understand faithfully reported by Wirral Council’s media friends on Radio Merseyside on Christmas Day).Well the first comment we’d like to make is why such a cumbersome,elongated title for such a simplistic,flimsy report?We can only hope and pray that indeed this is a “preliminary” report because 39 pages of mostly personal opinions presented as evidence and facts hardly seems to do justice to this complex case.
Indeed we’ve dispensed with the title – no ,not those bestowed on her Ladyship and I for services for leakage- but the title of the report and we’ve taken a leaf out of Eldritch’s book and will henceforth be referring to said magnum opus as “Penn’s Pisspoor Report” ( “…and having writ ,moves on” – indeed and no doubt,to another lucrative job).To save you the bother of reading what is described as a “Report for the Chief Executive” we’ll give you the lowdown (and by jove do we mean lowdown) .The report is from one ex-Merseyside Chief Executive to a current Merseyside Chief Executive – who no doubt would have rubbed up against each other ,so to speak,when Mr.Penn was Chief Executive at Knowsley Council and indeed when they were former muckers at Liverpool Council.Of course Dave Green (the aforesaid Director of Technical Services) is found to have “no case to answer” ( which rather reminds us here at Leaky Towers of the findings of another “investigation” at Wirral Council which eventually proved to be somewhat questionable to say the least…….).However, this time the findings are seemingly based on irrefutable fact based evidence such as legal beagle Colin Hughes telling Penn that Green would never get involved in any nastiness involving picking on whistleblowers : “He (Hughes) said that Dave Green was seen as a man of integrity and fairness– such behavior would not have been in line with this reputation”.
As we must appreciate this statement stands up to close scrutiny because as we know : a) Whistleblowers are always dealt with fairly and with integrity and respect by Wirral Council and b) A Senior Officer in the Legal Department said it – so it must be true!.
It is very dispiriting to see the same old names trawled out (the dearly departed Norman,Coleman,Garry etc;) however we were all intrigued to see the names of two “old friends” appearing out of the Cheshire countryside like the delightful Julie Andrews in The Sound Of Music – ” or as Eldritch commented : ” Oh here we go – the hills are alive with the sound of bullshit”.Ladies and gentlemen I give you Simon Goacher and Steve Maddox ( What ?! – No applause?.Why so?.) Simon Goacher – former Head of Legal of Wirral and more recently Cheshire East ( we understand there was a bit of a “falling out” at the latter) and now cosily ensconced at Weightman’s Solicitors in Liverpool and currently their Head of Local Government and doing lots of work for…….er , Wirral Council!!
All we would like to say at this juncture is that we hope all those Conflict of Interest forms have been filled in properly this time Simes old chap! Mr.Maddox – having baled out just before Anna Klonowski could ask him a few pertinent questions about his role in the Social Services scandals – suddenly appears fresh as a daisy to explain himself to fellow former Merseyside Chief Executive Mr.Penn,knowing full well that having the Freedom of the Borough of Wirral,being a Deputy Lieutenant of Merseyside and having a big fat pension to cushion his derriere he’s beyond accountability ( however being out of harms way he’s convenient to pin the blame on).
Indeed there seems to be a lot of blaming of others in the report.Once again faithful beagle Colin Hughes pipes up that there seemed to be a ” get Dave Green approach” .And who was behind this evil conspiracy to malign the good name of DG ?- take your pick – the “malicious” whistleblowers?, the District Auditor?, the cleaners at Wallasey Town Hall?……….
In his defence Dave Green refers to a District Auditor’s report where “more than 20 examples of blatant bad practice” are identified and yet he seems to be the only one being asked to be held accountable ( which frankly would be a first at Wirral Council) .
Indeed , we can recall Klonowski also refers to a blatant disregard of EU procurement regulations in the Independent Review.But really, as my late mother Lady Justicia once told me when I was a little boy and there was that little “misunderstanding” about that postal order: “Just because everyone else was doing it doesn’t mean you can use that as an excuse….rise above ,dear boy,rise above”. And what’s more it raises the same old spectre of what the blithering hell Councillors were doing whilst Council Officers were getting away with “blatant bad practice” – scrutiny ,accountability and consequences be damned!
Now I don’t know if its an excess of marron glaces and madeira but my head is spinning with all this intrigue.I could do with some fresh air to clear my head……….anyone fancy a quick round of golf at Carden Park?
Tally ho, and a Happy New Years Eve to you all, your Good Lord Wirral-Leaks