Thursday, 20 August 2009

Christmas Lights - what next?


Last night the Town Council narrowly voted in the following resolution (as per draft minutes):

That (1) the Christmas Lights Committee be abolished with immediate effect and the current arrangements for Christmas 2009 be continued on the basis of meetings of an informal management group of the interested parties (be they non-members or members of the Town Council); (2) the Christmas lights and the electrical infrastructure remaining available along with the Town Council’s donation and (3) ownership of the lights be retained by the Town Council.

The proposal was put by Roy Bebbington with the vocal support of Bob Cockle. Their stated reasoning was that the current committee (a formal Town Council committee but comprising mainly non-councillors) was too bureaucratic and subject to rules and standing orders etc. This seemed to me a small price to pay for the Town Council delegating all powers to the committee and providing the financial conduit and liability for the lights. As I had suggested this form of organisation in 2008 I was clearly not going to support its abolition unless something very definite would replace it, certainly not the vacuum of an 'informal management group'.

As a Suffolk County Councillor for the town centre I had already promised funds from my locality budget to allow lights to be put up in Central Walk, providing that all-important link from the arc to the town centre. I warned at last night's meeting that this could be in jeopardy if there was not a definite group with a legal entity and bank account (eg Limited Company/Association/Trust) to replace the Christmas Lights Committee.

Despite all this a small majority of those present managed to push through the above resolution, including the Chairman, David Nettleton. I am left wondering why, and how quickly this set-back can be rectified so I can go ahead with my original offer of extra cash.

4 comments:

Bury Boy said...

Paul
I am really not sure where the problem is, is this not ineffect what every council does in respect of its members or council employees, deligate it to the non elected. To some the need for extra "paper work" only adds to cost time and complexity.

The decision has been made, you have every right to voice your concern, but you made the offer of our rate payers money to deliver a certain function ( a set of lights in cornhill walk). You didnt and should not have added but a bye the way its only... or only if i like it, or only if the party agrees.... type of statement on the expendure. If the lights are put up and turned on, make the money available, leave it to the council officials to work out how, who when and how they move money around in the rate payers fund. There are better things to spend your time on.
A cattelmarket to cornhill link.
Town centre parking, free on sundays. ( try adding 20p oper day to the 60p per day parking charge at the new council head quarters) that will more than cover the cost
Scheme F extention to include "unused suffolk council land" to the benefit of the rate payer.
Zero salary and budget increases at BOTH councils.
Zero increases in council tax.
Reduction in council staff numbers at both councils to reflect the ecomonmy today. After all the town council exercise must have shown you how costs can be cut with out effecting service.

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

Oh BB you're winding me up again.

It's completely twisting the facts to claim I am saying "bye the way its only... or only if i like it, or only if the party agrees.... type of statement on the expendure."

Since the Council's abolished the committee it's actually a case of "providing there's a group of volunteers who can do the job, form themselves into a legal organisation, and get a bank account for me to pay the cheque into."

Bury Boy said...

I think on one aspect you missed my point. Its not "your" problem

"providing there's a group of volunteers who can do the job, form themselves into a legal organisation, and get a bank account for me to pay the cheque into."

You promised the cash ( our cash as rate payers, not your cash personally, which i know you accept) leave it to the new group to organise them elfs, if they deliver " the goods" allocate the cash, by that I mean tell one of our over paid, index linked pensioned managers we employ to find a way to pay "our" committment. that is what they are in essance there to do, furfill our / your wishes, and those of the rate payer. end of story.

You dont have to like it, its a fact of life, and in all honesty the result ( lights in cornhill walk) is the goal. Your talents and voice could be better spend on our behalf on other items.


Seperate issue Yesterday I had to listern to a senior council employee continually avoid a simple question, continually come up with reasons why they could not act, and continually avoid taking any responsibility to find a solution, or even consider some thing out side "their" plans. this despite the fact that a "different but not manager" did listern to my and other local comments, and did take notes.
This said same council offical chose to ignore local opinion and my comments during my rational stage, and move on to others with a simlar view until "they found some one who they felt "understood". If this is the calibar of senior council staff, then its about time we let them go else where. They consider carrer and interest above that of the rate payers. ( rate payers are share holders to public companies).

What was also interesting is that at 4.30 a number of staff "knocked off" for the day, just as 6 or 7 local residents arrived looking for assistabnce, at least 2 left very fustrated.

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

I am anxious to know what all this is about BB. Can I not help you and your neighbours?

Please email me about this if you wish: mail@PaulFarmer.com