YOU DON’T GET ME I’M PART OF THE UNION (….AND PART OF THE PROBLEM)

Just-For-reps

What better time than for Town Hall Tyrants to drive through changes in terms and conditions for Wirral Council employees than in the current climate of fear.

Taking advantage of the fact that they are the main local employer,we’re deep in recession and that apparently some parts of Wirral are now described as a “welfare ghetto” the threat of sacking staff and re-hiring them on changed terms and conditions seems to have worked the trick on a frightened workforce.

Unsurprisingly the signing of the draft collective agreement has been hailed as a triumph of negotiation by Power Boy Pip and Comrade Burgesski ( without seemingly realising that when wielding all that power over peoples lives that the cards are heavily stacked in their favour ).

Meanwhile we at Leaky Towers have acquired a transcript of the reaction to this development by local activist  “Brother” Joe Trotsky:

” As I stand united with you on this glorious day I say to you friends, Wirralians, comrades that together we can fight the ruthless oppression of the workers at Wirral Council…. and you say to me ” Comrade how can we do this?. Well first of all we can do the usual – capitulate – and in doing so we are showing the evil capitalist oppressors in Wallasey Town Hall that although we may be wage slaves who are just grateful for a job which enables us to forget our miserable existence and get slaughtered every weekend, we still have one thing that they can’t take away from us …..our pride in the continuation of the working class struggle!.

Friends,Wirralians ,comrades, the fight must go on – against the vicious Council cuts ( at this point Branch Secretary and radical feminist revolutionary Ms.Sandie Nista  whispers in Brother Joe’s ear…).

I would hereby like to thank my sister of the Struggle for reminding me that Comrade Burgesski has asked me to use the word “efficiencies” rather than cuts……..

So friends,Wirralians,comrades lets talk about those “efficiencies”. These “efficiencies” are a result of  deep and meaningful consultations, and you told them loud and clear  – you want the Council to protect the vulnerable.Did they listen ? let’s look at the “efficiencies” they propose  – closure of  Moreton day centre,stop transport for disabled children,stop meals on wheels, then there’s The Bin Tax! The Bedroom Tax!, Council Tax! …all taxes on the poor and vulnerable ! .

This evil Tory -run Wirral Council is a disgrace to humanity, an affront to decent people everywhere and an enemy of the working class ( Ms.Nista interrupts again).

…..Are you sure this is a Labour run administration Ms.Nista?……women eh?, I think you’re best sticking with “Hello” rather than the “Hegelian Dialectic”,love……

( Ms.Nista sighs heavily realising that the downfall of patriarchy presents a bigger challenge than she first thought and shows Brother Joe a picture of Power Boy Pip wearing a red rosette …..) 

Friends,Wirralians,comrades OK I acknowledge that this may now be a Labour run Council but there’s no getting away from the fact it is the Coalition Government who have forced the Labour Group on the Wirral to betray their working classes roots.

However I know that in their hearts – no Sandie I warn you now, just don’t go there – that the Labour Lads and Laddesses are standing in solidarity “wid der werkers” , for example there is no way any one of them would be involved in ,oh I don’t know, “dodgy offshore bank accounts” for example,because in these hard times that would be a bit of a kick in the teeth to us all, wouldn’t it friends, Wirralians and comrades?  

Friends,Wirralians,comrades I feel the time has come to end this rousing speech because I’m due on the first tee to negotiate further with the Town Hall officials who pay my wages for performing so well for the Council, OK yes,sorry about that Sandie ,yes I meant to say members……… ”  

UNIONSellouts

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Stella Who?

WIRRAL-ARTois

The latest edition of Private Eye reports that the Chinese partner with Peel Holdings to create Manhattan -On-The- Mersey (aka Wirral Waters) is somebody by the name of Stella Shiu.

It would appear that Wirral Council staff are not only restricted from accessing Wirral Leaks they’re also prevented from doing some basic background checks.

Admittedly there is very little about Ms.Shiu on www  but she has been described as a high ranking member of the Chinese government and chairman of Sam Wa Minerals who requires bodyguards with Kalashnikov rifles!however Private Eye claim she may indeed be a Hong Kong bankrupt.

As the  Liverpool Preservation Trust have been reporting for some time there are questions that need to be both asked and answered – http://liverpoolpreservationtrust.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/stella-shiu-exposed-in-private-eye.html
Remember the future of Wirral seems to be riding on this development – it was  Power Boy Pip who said after the signing a Wirral Waters agreement in Beijing: “I spoke to over 100 Chinese businesses who are already demonstrating real commitment to locating in Wirral. This demonstrates our ambitions for proactively pursuing Chinese investment and will yield direct benefits for our local economy and the people of Wirral.”

Oh and heres former Leader Jeff Green posing with Lindsay Ashworth and Ms.Shiu herself ( although there don’t appear to be any bodyguards with Kalashnikov rifles in this shot) ……

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/9575308.Chinese_business_leaders_visit_Wirral_Waters_regeneration_project/

We wouldn’t like to think that Wirral Councillors had been MISLED YET AGAIN.

PIP? JEFF?? STELLA???? – any comments?.

OBSCENE PUBLICATION

OBC

Unsurprisingly without any fanfare top-notch bean counter Eugene Sullivan’s long awaited Independent Review of Sundry Debt has been published and is due for consideration at a Special Meeting of Wirral Council Cabinet on 23rd May.

Might we suggest that Cabinet have a lot to ponder as to why the Council (and particularly the Department of Adult Social Services) has failed to pursue outstanding debts which it was owed!.

The report is here : http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50011451/Independent%20Review%20of%20Sundry%20Debt%20Report.pdf

However the scores on the doors are these:

 Total Council Debt : £31,251,000

Department of DASS outstanding Debt: £ 24,703,000 

DASS Debt written off : £10,900,000

What can we say?… other than initially quote directly from yet another damning report about how Wirral Council conducts it’s business:

 “This problem has existed for many years ,has grown steadily and is not yet solved.There has been no concerted action by the Council despite awareness at the highest level in at least three departments…..This should not come as a surprise to many within the Council….

Over the years the Chief Officers in DASS,Legal Department and the Finance Department were aware of the growing problem on aged debt. There has been a corporate failure to understand the scale and consequence of this issue.None of the Departments has taken effective action to ensure this matter was addressed.It should have been recognised as a serious corporate risk which was not being mitigated.It had gone on for so long ,and become so big and complicated ,no one seemed to know how to address it or should take ownership for addressing it….

There have been suggestions that the Department (DASS) was reluctant to tackle the issue because it might have adverse affects on their budgets .Some interviewees have told me specifically about incidents where at least one Head of Service declined to take action,on more than one occasion ,because it would harm the Departments budget….”

We at Leaky Towers have considered these findings and the following local newspaper reports:

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/10425230.Wirral_Council_social_services_in___27m__toxic_debt__shock/?ref=mc

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/wirral-council-failed-collect-10m-3865036

Our sorrowful collective comments are as follows :

  • Well the findings certainly didn’t come as a “surprise” to whistleblower Martin Morton who alleges he reported his concerns about financial mismanagement from 2006-11 (including to the then Chief Executive Steve Maddox in 2007)
  • And what was the Council’s response ? – gave them yet another reason to hound him out of his job!…..FOR TELLING THE COUNCIL THEY WERE LOSING MONEY!?
  • Power Boy Pip Davies absolutely pitiful response is that: ” Part of the problem was elected members were not made aware of the issue..”
  • THE CLAIM THAT ELECTED MEMBERS DIDN’T KNOW IS SIMPLY NOT CREDIBLE!.THEY EITHER DID KNOW AND  CHOSE TO TURN A BLIND EYE KNOWING THAT THEY’D GOT AWAY WITH IT FOR YEARS AND WOULD OF GOT AWAY WITH IT FOR YEARS TO COME UNTIL THAT BLOODY WHISTLEBLOWER CAME ALONG !…..OR THEY GENUINELY DIDN’T KNOW  AND THEY WERE DECEIVED BY SENIOR OFFICERS FOR YEARS. EITHER WAY IT IS A DAMNING INDICTMENT OF WIRRAL COUNCIL’S ELECTED MEMBERS  
  • And oh it gets worse  – Power Boy Pip also claims: ” The report makes it clear that senior officers in adult social services ,legal and finance knew and did not do anything but individuals have left….There is not much we can do in addressing historic problems..”
  • MANY OF THESE SENIOR OFFICERS DID NOT JUST “LEAVE” – THEY WERE HANDSOMELY REWARDED FOR THEIR FAILURE BY PIP & HIS CREW! .NO WONDER THE REPORT IS “EX – RATED” (THE “GOING RATE” USUALLY BEING SIX FIGURES). REMEMBER THE DASS HEAD OF FINANCE WHO SURELY NEEDS TO TAKE A LARGE PART OF THE BLAME FOR THE “CORPORATE FAILURE”  “LEFT” THE DAY BEFORE THE AKA INDEPENDENT REVIEW REPORT WAS PUBLISHED AND OF COURSE WITH THE REQUISITE SIX FIGURE CHEQUE. IS PIP REALLY CLAIMING THIS IS ENTIRELY COINCIDENTAL?.
  • We note ,as ever,there are no names ,no pack drill ,no accountability when it comes to the guilty parties.
  • MIGHT WE SUGGEST THE FOLLOWING SHOULD BE NAMED AND SHAMED ( THOUGH WE’RE  OPEN TO FURTHER SUGGESTIONS)  DASS CHIEF OFFICERS: KEVIN MILLER,JOHN WEBB,HOWARD COOPER ? LEGAL CHIEF OFFICERS: SIMON GOACHER, BILL NORMAN?  FINANCE CHIEF OFFICER: IAN COLEMAN HEADS OF SERVICE: MIKE FOWLER, MAURA NOONE? OH AND LETS NOT FORGET THE CHIEF EXECUTIVES: STEVE MADDOX AND JIM WILKIE BECAUSE ULTIMATELY THAT’S WHERE THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS FOUL UP LIES. YES THE SAME MADDOX WHO WAS GIVEN THE FREEDOM OF THE BOROUGH ON HIS SUDDEN “RETIREMENT” FOR SERVING THE PEOPLE OF WIRRAL SO WELL.OH THEY “GOT SERVED” ALRIGHT!.
  • And to think those poor Chief Officers trying to make ends meet on £100K PLUS getting all befuddled because their corporate failure “had gone on for so long and was too big and too complicated” and so they’d go all woozy when they saw the financial spreadsheet with the row of noughts on and the alarms bells would be ringing in their heads and the red lights flashing before their eyes and the only appropriate response they could think off was to go and give a good kicking to a junior member of staff to make sure they kept their mouths shut.
  • WHAT DID THEY THINK THEY WERE BEING PAID FOR? – TO BLOODY SORT IT OUT! – NO WONDER THEY GOT TOGETHER AND GOT RID OF THAT MORTON BLOKE!.SO WHAT DID THEY DISCUSS IN THEIR CHIEF OFFICER MEETINGS? – THEIR GOLF HANDICAPS? THEIR EXOTIC HOLIDAYS? WHO WAS TOP OF THE KICKBACK LEAGUE?  
  • So finally after all the above named have “left”  ,”interviewees” (or “gobshites” as Eldritch describes them ) come clean and disclose to Mr.Sullivan what was known to all and sundry ( except apparently elected members! ) about the woeful financial arrangements which have cost Wirral Council millions.
  • DID IT NOT OCCUR TO INTERVIEWEES/GOBSHITES TO SPEAK UP BEFORE MR.SULLIVAN SHOWED UP?.SILLY QUESTION! – LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO MORTON!.WHY WOULD ANYONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND SPILL THE BEANS UNTIL THE BEANCOUNTER CAME ALONG?!.
  • So the alleged justification by DASS Heads of Service for declining to take action was to prevent “harming the Departments budget”
  • THE “HARMING” OF ESSENTIAL SERVICES , VULNERABLE PEOPLE,THE PAY AND CONDITIONS OF COUNCIL STAFF & THE COUNCIL’S REPUTATION FOR FAILING TO RECOVER MONIES THAT WERE OWED TO THEM DIDN’T SEEM TO COME INTO THE EQUATION!

Therefore is it any wonder, in consideration of all of the above, that the only word we can use to describe the contents of this report is……OBSCENE

Lord W

On my oath! – it’s a Mayor Scare!!!!!

liar-liar

One of our spies in the camp (of which there are a growing number) reassures us that due to the bumbling incompetence displayed at the Mayoral ceremony on Monday night at Wallasey Town Hall  that Cllr Mitchell and the ever popular Cllr Foulkes may not have technically been sworn in to public office as Mayor and Deputy Mayor as Legal Bungler Sir Piss-Poor er, forgot about the oath. What a complete Foulk-up!

Having noticed that Cllr Mitchell hadn’t taken the oath, Comrade Burgesski swiftly intervened when it came to Foulksey’s turn – so who knows as to whether they’re legit ( and you can read whatever you like into that statement).

We at Leaky Towers are hoping that this is God moving in his well known mysterious ways and we may have been saved on a technicality from the awful spectre of Foulkesy becoming Wirral’s future first citizen!.

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POWER BOY PIP… and his strong leader powers

SUPERPIPD

“To consider a recommendation from the Leader of the Council
(made under his strong Leader powers)…”
Yes boys and girls this is an actual quote taken from Comrade Pip’s Little Red Book ,sorry, a Wirral Council agenda:
So what’s the secret behind these strong Leader powers ?.
Full exclusive story here:
“Strong Leader” Pip pulls back the heavy velvet drapes and enters the stately pleasure dome that is Comrade Burgesski’s palatial office:
PIP : Excuse me, comrade,sir but could I please have a moment of your precious time?.
GB: (sighs heavily)…..if you must
PIP: Well the thing is…..it’s about these strong Leader powers. I’m not sure I can pull it off
GB: (closes eyelids contemptuously)…..oh you can pull it off alright.
PIP: No,no….I’ve done what you told me and I look in the bathroom mirror ever morning and repeat three times: I AM A STRONG LEADER……I AM A STRONG LEADER……I AM A STRONG LEADER.
GB: (picking idly at a bowl of peeled grapes) ….and so what’s your problem?
PIP: Well the thing is…… not even the family dog takes a blind bit of notice of me!
GB: ( impatiently waving his hand to dismiss the Council Officer giving him a foot massage)……. Comrade ,can this possibly wait for another time?.I’ve an entire workforce to dismiss unless they submit to my will
PIP: Yes,yes of course……..sorry to disturb you.
GB: ( gets up from jewel-encrusted throne) Precisely!……I’m disturbed enough trying to get this place into some kind of order (claps hands)…. now bring on the dancing girls…….I need to ease my troubled mind……….

Threatening Behaviour – Mr.Griffiths buys a new t-shirt.

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Courtesy of a grant by the Local Government Association the control room at Leaky Towers is now equipped with the latest radar technology and the name that has appeared on the screens more prominently then any other lately is a Wirral Council Officer by the name of Surjit Tour.

Apparently he’s the one who proudly took on the mantle left vacant by the departure of former Director of Law Bill Norman and is not only acting up as Director of Law and Monitoring Officer but also seems to be acting the goat!

Following in his less-than-illustrious predecessor’s footsteps Putrid Sore’s latest wheeze, when he’s not displaying peoples personal details on allotment sites, is to threaten Wirral Biz whistleblower James “Griffo” Griffiths with libel action.

Somebody needs to tell Slipshod Bore that it’s unlawful to use Wirral Council taxpayers money to, er, sue Wirral Council taxpayers.

I know it’s an entirely new concept to some Council Officers but unfortunately,as much as they would like to think so,the Council coffers are not there for them to do as they please…………and that includes those Officers who like to use out of hours taxis when they’re,ahem, a bit “tired and emotional”.

 

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Its WL Song Request Time

“Offshore Banking Business” anyone? by the wonderful (Unelected) Members. Now who shall dedicate this to ?  Answers on a postcard please….

Picking Up The Bill

DOLLAR-BILL

In the first of a series of special features Wirral Leaks proudly brings you :
” Where Are They Now?” – a roll call of Wirral Council “characters” who have variously kept us intrigued, entertained or appalled whilst working at Wirral Council.

No 1. BILL NORMAN – aka Torbay Bill, Billyboy Norman and Wirral Council’s former Director of Law .
Well what can we say about the Monty Burns lookie-likie?.
Let the facts speak for themselves –

a) Sweet William leaves Torbay Council with a bloody big cheque – his time there was particularly notable for a scandalous case involving a £200K + award made at an Employment Tribunal to a whistleblower

b) Seemingly impressed with his ability to deal with whistleblowing cases Wirral Council appoint this dynamic hotshot lawyer to deal with a series of whistleblowing scandals – but do we really need to cite the litany of sin and disarray he left behind?…..  and yet he still managed to leave with yet another big cheque (plus his legal fees) .

c) And now we hear that Herefordshire County Council are so impressed by his exemplary track record that they’ve hired this paragon of public service as their new Director of Law and Monitoring Officer.

Indeed the person specification for the post stated:
I am not accepting of mediocrity
Seriously Billyboy…. and you worked at Wirral Council ?.
As you experienced – they could only aspire to mediocrity!.

Perhaps in consideration of all of this Billyboy’s arrival in cider country is being treated with some healthy scepticism by the apparently long suffering people of Herefordshire:

http://www.herefordtimes.com/news/10386867.Herefordshire_Council_chief_executive_outlines_cuts_in_open_letter/?ref=mc

Indeed – if you scroll down you will find a very pertinent post from one of the Hereford Times contributors commenting on his departure from Wirral Council which reads:
“Why didn’t he just go without putting £150,000 in his back pocket?”

However we all feel at Leaky Towers that it is time the tale was told of how Big Bill actually departed with nearly £150K (and his legal fees paid for) – because it really is a salutary tale.

As we all know he left with “No Case To Answer” stamped on his shiny pate courtesy of a certain Richard Penn and indeed Billywillydoodah owes Tricky – Ricky Penn BIG-TIME.
To the tune of approximately £150K…Or shall we more accurately say Tricky-Ricky’s moby…………………

At this point Lady W interjects with : ” My dear can we have less of your riddlesome cryptic nonsense – get down to brass tacks – and as we know where’s there’s muck there’s brass – and finally reveal what is known to all and sundry in the corridors of power in Wallasey Town Hall?”.

So from various sources Verity has managed to piece together what we understand to be the story and it goes a little something like this:

As we all remember during the fallout from the AKA report the Highways whistleblowing case starts hitting the headlines.
Suddenly there’s serial headline grabber Frank Field in the papers calling for sackings and there he is in the House of Commons bemoaning the ineptitude of Wirral Council senior officers and there he is again at a full meeting of the Council playing Grumpy Uncle Frank gently reprimanding his naughty nephews with an exasperated sigh as if to say:
” I have to say I’m rather miffed with you lot! – you are such a rabble of tiresome little scamps getting into all kinds of  troublesome scrapes.What am I going to do with you?….”.

Well we at Leaky Towers think that what you did Frank was absolve Councillors of any blame when it came to lack of scrutiny or implementing effective and responsible Corporate Governance and thereby succeeded in deflecting calls for a Public Inquiry and/or the intervention of Local Government Commissioners to look into what the hell had been going on at Wirral Council for many,many years.
Job done!.

However as investigations (by the Audit Commission and external investigator Richard Penn) proceed a cast of thousands are implicated in shenanigans which remain to this day shrouded in technical detail ( pun intended) and subsequently the following took place:

– Technical Services Director Dave Green is suspended as is Finance Deputy David Taylor-Smith
– CEO Jim Wilkie suddenly goes (with a pay -off)
-Director of Finance/Acting CEO Ian Coleman is also implicated in something – although we’re not quite sure what (and eventually goes with a pay-off).

But the mysterious question always remained as to who exactly sent Big Bill on his way?.
And why exactly did he get a bigger pay-out than either of the above even though he’d only been with Wirral Council for 4 YEARS??.

We understand that the then fairly new Council Leader Pip Davies couldn’t suspend Mr.Norman.
So in steps the fearless Mr. Michael Frater!.

Remember him?. The £15K a month troubleshooter who achieved a big fat zero other than pave the way for fellow “Improvement” Board member, the mighty Mr Burgess, and yet another one who nevertheless managed in the interim to considerably enhance his bank account.
Desperate to play the BIG-I-AM to match his BIG fee, it is reportedly Termin-Frater who sent Bill on his less than merry way.

However all that legal know-how which served Bill so well as Director of Law suddenly kicked-in and we can only imagine he swiftly dabbed his crocodile tears,gave a fist-pump as if to say “quids -in” ,contacts a top-notch legal rottweiler from that there London and it’s a case of Wirral Council picking up the bill…… because as “any fule kno”  you don’t suspend a Council Monitoring Officer without first establishing that “THERE IS A CASE TO ANSWER” ( apparently they’re very special people and have all kind of legal protections that the ordinary Council employee could only dream about).

So could that schoolboy error from Mighty Mickey Frater have cost the Council another six-figure pay-out?.
I think we should be told! (but I bet we won’t be!)

If this is the case it is doubly ironic that at the time of the suspension we have been informed that Tricky-Ricky Penn was on a fast-track mercy dash on the Wirral Gravy Train Express (no doubt from First Class) serenading Frater on his mobile phone with that old refrain : ” Do Nothin’ Til You Hear From Me”.

Could it have been that Penn’s mobile was cut off going through a tunnel? that he’d run out of credit? that he got stuck on level 64 of Candy Crush?…. who knows? but we understand that may have been a costly missed call……to Wirral Council Taxpayers!
Of course to square the circle all Mr.Penn subsequently had to do was to deliver the  “No Case To Answer” report….and the rest is history.

Or is it?………are we to believe that Frank Field’s grandstanding was based entirely on spurious information and that really there was absolutely no funny business going on? .
However if Richard Penn’s investigation report is to be believed (for heaven’s sake Eldritch , will you please stop sniggering) – it was all a bit of fuss and nonsense about nothing much at all.
Which leads us to ask the question:Why was Frankie getting his knickers in so much of a twist in the first place?.

Of course the person who could tell us is the star of this profile  – Bill Norman  – and as we know he didn’t sign a gagging clause.We think he owes the people of Wirral an explanation as to what was going on behind closed doors and the invidious position that sometimes he must have been placed in by his political masters.As anyone who witnessed former Leader of the Council and soon to be Deputy Mayor Steve Foulkes shouting in Council Chambers ” NORMAN,MY OFFICE NOW…..”  we can only imagine what kind of coercion and pressure he was put under to “manage”  the whistleblowing maelstrom which very nearly blew the House of Cards down.

Oh come on Bill,you can tell us…………..or maybe just tell Verity.

Verity always wins out in the end.

#FoI request – Illegal Four Week Delay Investigator – Was he rewarded with a job?

Wirral In It Together

The following FoI request was lodged back in February this year:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/rob_vickers_illegal_4_week_delay#incoming-384080

The request followed the customary “Wirral Way”.  Not all information was provided, and still hasn’t been, but following internal review, two months on, the ‘day rate’ for the investigator’s company was eventually revealed:

£515 per day or £2,575 per working week (over £100,000 per year)

Which is a healthy – even princely – sum, considering the wider recession and the crushing austerity being inflicted on those not in a position to secure well-paid work.

Although there will be a whole lot more information kicking around (but not provided) relating to precisely how Rob Vickers’ company was appointed, and the anonymous persons involved in the process, I won’t flog a dead horse this time around.  The public will have to settle for pretty much the bare minimum.

The mega-money involved here, although not the crucial factor, gives an…

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