Pond Life

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You may remember a recent post about a Wirral Council  Employment and Appointments Committee held on June 28th where we referenced a particular agenda item and commented  : Curiously there was (inevitably) an exempt item on the agenda which we understand involved discussions about yet another high profile departure who has been allowed to slip the net (if you get our drift). Suffice to say there’ll be more on that particular catch of the day at a later date.   

Comings and Goings

As we alluded to last week we can now confirm it’s farewell then to cartoon character Dolly Pond lookalike and Wirral Council Super-Duper Director Clare Fish.

We’ll miss her. Mainly because of the endless punning opportunities this overpaid failure provided – wet fish, fish out of water , out of her depth etc; It really was like shooting Fish in a barrel.

It always struck us that Clare was content to be a small fish in a stagnant pond and suddenly found herself swimming with sharks who were either screwing each other or screwing each other over.

Inevitably she found herself to be yet another Wirral council senior officer responsible for social care who has been thrown overboard having netted a big fat cheque – think Miller, Webb, Noone, Fowler ,Hassall . Meanwhile  the overseer of a series of failures, Cllr Moira McLaughlin, sails serenely on like an ocean going tanker full of toxic waste.

In this particular case Fish netted £105,000 . Wirral Council will have you believe with some financial jiggerypokery that they didn’t splash out another six figure sum to reward failure – but they did. It’s what they do, because they don’t know any other way. We say try sacking people or let them resign – that’s how it works in the business world that Wirral Council seem so determined to replicate.

However the most curious aspect of this hasty departure , and a demonstration of Wirral Council’s usual commitment to openness,transparency and accountability is the fact that having applied an exemption, thus excluding press and public from the Employment and Appointments Committee where the pay-off was discussed, they then had to refer the matter for approval at last night’s full Council meeting as Ms Fish swam through the magic six figure mark meaning it needed to be agreed by elected members.

Outgoing Head of Law Surjit Tour seems to have forgotten to tell Wirral Council CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson how this council business works as Stressed Eric merrily revealed in his ExecView  internal newsletter ( which is a bit like Wirral View but without soup recipes and pictures of smiling tots)  that Fish had already slipped through the net .

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As you can see ExecView  was dated July 4th and the CEO revealed that Fish had already left the previous week ! So what was the point of even bringing the matter to the Council meeting to agree Fish’s leaving terms ? None whatsoever! But it appears the pond life who are our local elected representatives get along swimmingly and don’t like to make too many ripples when it comes to spending our money on rewarding failure!

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Pat Williams                                                Harry Smith 1

As a postscript to Monday’s Wirral Council meeting we couldn’t let proceedings pass without commenting on the vote to bestow former councillors Harry Smith (Labour) and Patricia Williams (Liberal Democrats) with the title Honorary Alderman.

We particularly note that there was an attempt by opposition councillors to vote separately on the respective appointments. Needless to say the majority Labour group were having none of it.They made it clear that Smith and Williams were a package deal  – a cut price buy one get one free offer. They were lumped together as a double act – the political equivalent of The Krankies…….without the laughs.

So what could possibly be the objection to the civic honour to one of these fine upstanding former public servants?. Could it be that one of them was a foul-mouthed,belligerent and incompetent councillor?.

We’ll leave our readers to guess who we mean but we will draw your attention that ex (and X-rated) Councillor Harry Smith once publicly used a four letter word beginning with C to describe a Wirral Globe journalist. He also publicly used a four letter word beginning with T to describe a Liverpool Echo journalist . The T word being “Tory”. But then the journalist did tip off Tory leader Jeff Green about the Wirralgate recordings so that’s perfectly understandable on Smith’s part. He also once gave the person who made the Wirralgate recordings a two-fingered salute.  So at least we can say he believed in Equal Opportunities  – everyone of any political persuasion could potentially be on the receiving end of his statesmanlike behaviour.

We draw this to the attention of our dear devoted readers only to remind them that when local politicians pretend that they’ve just  graduated from a Swiss finishing school rather than being dragged up in the north end of Birkenhead and clasp their breast in feigned horror that Wirral Leaks is  “poisonous and insulting” (guilty as charged) they need to remember who they consider should be revered as a pillar of the community and worthy of civic honours and STFU.

Nevertheless Pat and Harry will be able to exchange amusing anecdotes at their joint reception over publicly funded nibbles and fizz – such as the time that Cllr Williams brought up in Council chambers how they both attended a briefing where the then Director of Adult Social Services Kevin Miller and his assistant Maura Noone repeatedly lied to them . My how they’ll laugh! – of course the trouble with Harry is that he couldn’t remember being at this particular meeting when Cllr Williams brought it up – so it makes you wonder how someone with such crippling amnesia was able to make decisions which affected the lives of Wirral people doesn’t it?………….