Sanction Distinction

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LRJ and Foulkesy – same actions, different sanctions

And so another Labour councillor from Wirral Council is found to be unworthy of holding public office as a damning Standards Panel ‘Decision Notice’ is published. Wirral Leaks readers will know that Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ)  is no stranger to these pages . This time she appears to be the perpetrator rather than the victim of malicious acts.

The Standards Panel , after considering an Investigators Report, “found the actions of  Cllr Reecejones were designed to threaten,intimidate,underine and cause difficulties at work “ for one of the complainants Tamsin Coates . The Standards Panel also noted that LRJ  took a similar approach to the second complainant , Jessica Smyth, where she had made a complaint to the organisation where Ms Jessica Smyth volunteered . Both Ms Coates and Ms Smyth had previously raised legitimate concerns with Wirral Council’s Internal Audit and Merseyside Police. Although no charges were brought against LRJ  because of ‘insufficient evidence’ the complainants were found to be justified in raising their concerns.

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http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50042506/Standards%20Panel%2015%20June%202017%20Decsion%20Notice.pdf

Furthermore the Standards Panel found all the complainants  to be credible ( there were more from the Overchurch Residents Association) and yet LRJ was found to be ‘inconsistent, vague and misleading’   –   we know what they’re trying to say there don’t we boys and girls? Of particular interest to us was this quote from the Decision Notice :

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However it was when we read the ‘Sanctions’ section that apoplexy rapidly set in.

There are 5 sanctions in all  : i ) a formal warning letter from Wirral Council’s Monitoring Officer  Surjit Tour (!) ii) LJR must provide a written apology to all complainants iii)  Labour leader Cllr Phil Davies to consider whether party disciplinary action be taken against LRJ and whether she should be removed from all outside bodies to which she has been appointed iv) Tour will be arranging ‘training’ for LRJ which she must attend v) The Panel’s decision to be considered further by the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee.

These sanctions stand in stark contrast to the mild rebuke that was imposed on Cllr Steve Foulkes last year. Foulkesy got away with an apology to  Tory leader Cllr Jeff Green who wasn’t even the complainant! Foulkesy had lied to Wirral Council, lied to the investigator (necessitating a further investigation costing  Wirral Council taxpayers £17K) and continues to lie about what he and Cllr George Davies had been up to – to this very day.

If we were LRJ we’d be asking some serious questions as to why Foulkesy wasn’t given similar sanctions. Especially in relation to a proven liar being able to represent Wirral Council on outside bodies.If anything he is even more unworthy of public office than LRJ – and it would appear that’s really saying something!

But then again we did advise LRJ she was on a hiding to nothing a long time ago . She’s not and never has been part of  the ‘Inner Ring’ . Unlike Standards  Panel  member Cllr Moira McLaughlin who must have enjoyed sticking the knife in someone who played a part in bringing down disgraced former Labour councillor Jim Crabtree – who was , very much, part of the ‘Inner Ring’ .

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/suspension-suspense/

We have never claimed that all Labour councillors are dishonest,incompetent or corrupt but we have consistently called out the cabal that are. Ultimately  we believe it is this ‘Inner Ring’ which has consistently brought Wirral Council into disrepute and until these people are removed from public office the people of Wirral will continue to be poorly served.

Although currently marked ‘Strictly Private and Confidential ‘ the full ‘Investigators Report’ can be found here

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/g6133/Public%20reports%20pack%2015th-Jun-2017%2017.00%20Standards%20Panel.pdf?T=10

 

 

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Restricted View

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After yesterday’ s story about the Standards Panel meeting to be held on 15 June we questioned whether openness and transparency would prevail in the matter of this particular councillor Code of Conduct complaint . And true to (bad) form Wirral Council have today published the laughably named ‘public reports pack’ on their website.

First of all you will see that Agenda Item 4  is what can only be described as Kafkaesque as the press and public are excluded from presumably discussing whether the press and public will be able to attend the rest of the meeting !  I think we all know the answer to that already don’t we boys and girls?

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/g6133/Public%20reports%20pack%2015th-Jun-2017%2017.00%20Standards%20Panel.pdf?T=10

Agenda 5 is concerned with an investigation report and its 12 appendices which are allegedly attached. Needless to say they’re not – all we get is pages 45-211 marked either Document is Restricted’ or ‘This page is intentionally left blank ‘ .

We imagine some town hall power abuser (take your pick!) rather enjoyed instructing some lowly , downtrodden clerk to upload every single page marked in this way rather than just state that Wirral Council will not publish the documents before the meeting.

We can imagine this pathetic power trippin’ specimen looking in the mirror of the town hall bogs and fist-pumping as if to say : “That’ll show ’em who’s in charge”. It’s just such a shame the vainglorious vampire wouldn’t be able to see their own reflection!

WIRRALGATE ! – Half the Story

 

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Shamefully nearly 3 years after Wirral Leaks first broke the story here it is at last the 2nd Patricia Thynne  investigation report into misconduct by Wirral councillors -or more accurately and for some strange reason just one in particular.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/exclusive-wirralgate/

Verity is currently combing through the report and we will be bringing you our full detailed analysis over the next few days. But from what we’ve read it’s only half the story (if that) .

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=751&MId=5769&Ver=4

We have the advantage of having been  gifted  a very revealing archive which we hope tells a much more compelling and accurate version of events surrounding Wirralgate and which we think leaves an indelible stain on Wirral Council.

However for starters here are the findings against  Councillor Steve Foulkes

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http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50035824/20160628_Standards%20Panel%20Decision%20Notice.pdf

We’ll leave our readers to consider in the light of the findings whether an apology is an appropriate sanction for such astonishing dishonesty and whether someone who conducts themselves in such a manner should be making decisions about your life and representing Wirral Council on lucrative outside bodies.

Low Standards , High Fives

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Let’s get the credits rolling first. Thank you once again John Brace for sharing your video of last night’s Wirral Council’s Standards & Constitutional Committee meeting which proves once again that old adage that the camera never lies even though some of those being filmed do!.

Now if your idea of fun is watching someone picking their teeth, gurning and looking generally befuddled for 40 minutes we recommend you keep your eye on Committee chair  Cllr Bill Davies – “standards”  don’t even come into it !.

Her Ladyship turned her head away from the screen and cried despairingly :  “Oh for goodness sake get that man a toothpick and some lessons in etiquette.What is it with local councillors called Davies ? –  they appear to be social disgraces unacquainted with the social graces”

However knowing what we know of standards and conduct issues lurking behind the scenes we were looking forward to a thrilling show.Imagine our disappointment to witness some well rehearsed routines with Cllr Chris Blakeley as the bulldog chewing a wasp and Matron McLaughlin playing the diva  – the latter declaring an interest during a discussion about how standards complaints are dealt with or more accurately not dealt with by the Council and flouncing out of the meeting.” That’s the first time I’ve ever known the Matron take an interest in standards ” meowed Her Ladyship.

Meanwhile Super Duper Director Joe “Bless” Blott issued a grovelling apology about his “summary failure” to address a Standards complaint that still hadn’t been resolved after 12 months. We actually have a smidgeon of sympathy for the hapless patsy – as we well know that delays such as this are not always the doing of officers wanting to keep conduct complaints a “live issue” but of councilllors wanting complaints about themselves to be dead and buried !.

However we have no sympathy whatsoever for Surjit “Job for Life” Tour who really does seem to have thrown himself wholeheartedly into his new role as senior Town Hall apologist.

At about 5 minutes in on the video clip Tour proves to be (ef)-fluent in bullshit with talk of “context” and “turning the corner”  and how the case being discussed was “a slight blip”.

A slight blip – ?. Well there’s a leading contender for “Understatement of the Year” at the Leaky Awards 2015 – which will be like the Local Government Chronicle Awards without the deals done behind closed doors,the corporate crap and the self-delusion.

The double bind symbiotic relationship that Tour now seems to have with senior Wirral councillors is morbidly fascinating to watch but then it seems to us that a designated parking space and a personalised numberplate must be some compensation for having to live in Wolverhampton!.

Now if we’ve learned anything from recent history at Wirral Council it is that senior councillors will discard their officers like a ciggie butt out the back of Wallasey Town Hall if they don’t do as their told.So we’ll just wait and see how long the strange arrangement lasts if Tour fails to do his bit to ensure that the conduct of certain councillors remains forever hidden from public scrutiny………………….