Leader says East Devon District Council is “a business”

15 Feb

Let’s set aside the fact that he doesn’t see a local authority as a “social enterprise” with duties and responsibilities and look at that business model.

Usually a business has a Chairman, a Chief Executive Officer and a Board of Directors.  So far so good – Diviani, Williams, Executive Board.

BUT

businesses are responsible to their shareholders (in this case US) and usually their shareholders have a vote on all sorts of things: remuneration of the senior personnel, who gets to sit on the board, etc – there is an Annual General Meeting where, in theory, directors can be hired, fired or have their salaries cut or increased all at the behest of the shareholders.  Our problem is that we get to vote only once – when the business is set up anew every four years and then never again.  Also, it gives us the thorny question of those councillors who are NOT on the Board of Directors.  What precisely is their function?  Bond-holders perhaps – in the muck if the business goes bust but otherwise with no real function except to bankroll it?

Oh, and of course, the sole purpose of a business is to make money for its shareholders which it then returns in the form of dividends.  Instead we have to pay THEM council tax!  And unlike REAL businesses, we can’t sell our shares when we don’t like the way the business is going except by leaving East Devon!

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2 Responses to “Leader says East Devon District Council is “a business””

  1. stoneleighblogger February 15, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    I would say that the EDDC leadership IS running the council as a business, but not one which serves the general public who pay council tax. It is apparent that for many years planning has been influenced by ‘shadow directors’, who represent the real ‘shareholders’ in this business ( see past EDBF minutes ! ). Councillor Diviani should consider his position, and decide who he serves.

  2. Show and Tell February 15, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

    Mr. Diviani dismisses the accessibility issue surrounding Skypark by saying that only 13000 people visit the EDDC a year. He is talking about residents who want to contact the council about problems that the council can help with. He also says that he is running the EDDC as a business. Given the large budget that the council handles it is not unreasonable to use a business analogy as we as council tax payers do want the council to manage its budget and carry out its responsibilities in a business like professional manner.. What he seems to overlook is that unlike a business he is required to give the public access to council meetings, businesses only have a statutory duty to hold one shareholders’ meeting a year. Knowle council meetings are more accessible to the majority of East Devon residents than Skypark ever will be even if they lay on a bus route.

    For democracy to thrive it must be open to public scrutiny, too much is done in secret and the shadows in East Devon. While the present council will be glad that very few residents make it to Skypark the democratic process in East Devon which is already so weak, will suffer a death blow. So many councillors have been co-opted without being voted in and the majority of Conservative councillors unquestionably vote for whatever their leader wants that it seems imperative that the public attend council meetings to support the brave Independents and few Libdems who stand up the leadership. Ah, is that the real reason for moving to Skypark?

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