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Council Leader and CEO want to cosy up on their own in Museum!

7 May

Now THIS is a new idea!

http://www.northdevonjournal.co.uk/Concern-raised-placing-senior-council-staff/story-21067508-detail/story.html

We can just see Councillor Diviani and CEO Mark Williams in Thelma Hulbert with everyone else at Skypark!

Which councillor is too busy?

29 Apr

Recall the non-Whip Phil Twiss said Stuart Hughes had to be relieved of his EDDC chairmanships because he was “too busy” with his DCC work – comprehensively refuted by Councillor Hughes himself?

Below is EDDC’s Leader, Paul Diviani’s list of his responsibilities on his DCC web profile:

http://www.devon.gov.uk/paul_diviani_72009.pdf?d49778

and here is the equivalent for Councillor Hughes:

http://new.devon.gov.uk/democracy/councillor/stuart-hughes/

Which one is too busy to do two important jobs at the same time?

Comprehensive Freedom of Information request on Knowle relocation

25 Apr

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/relocation_from_the_knowle#incoming-507521

What EDDC Tory Whip and Honiton councillor Phil Twiss thinks about Sidmouth

25 Apr

From comments he made on the blog of Councillor Claire Wright:

….. the clue is in the name i.e. East Devon District Council and not Sidmouth Town council. “400 high grade jobs” will not be lost to the District via a relocation of its HQ.

EDDC works on behalf of all residents of East Devon including and not exclusively for those in Sidmouth and you are aware of the reasons why Knowle is not fit for purpose and why we need to work in different ways to maximise efficient working practices and maintain frontline services.

The East Devon response to the move away from Sidmouth

3 Mar

http://www.devon24.co.uk/news/councillors_back_skypark_move_1_3392377

Note that is says the reason is EDDC’s committment to the East Devon Growth Point NOT to the council tax payers of East Devon.

We all know where EDDC’s heart lies, and it isn’t in the heart of East Devon!

Did councillors know what they were voting for on Wednesday?

28 Feb

We only ask because, of course, most of them were excluded from secret talks way above their level and (in theory) have never had full information about the move as we know that certain councillors have never been allowed to see the information.

So, we have two scenarios:

Yes, they did know – in which case we would seem to have a situation where confidential information was disclosed only to members of one party which would certainly be immoral and possibly illegal and certainly something that the Monitoring Officer would need to deal with

or

No, they didn’t know and voted blindly without knowing exactly what they were voting for.  In which case, why would they ALL vote that way – without being whipped?

Confusing and rather worrying.

Curious change of mind?

27 Feb

East Devon Alliance asks the question here: http://eastdevonalliance.org/2014/02/27/no-whipping-at-eddc-so-why-the-synchronised-change-of-mind/

Mark Williams – a law unto himself?

27 Feb

Chief Executives are supposed to maintain strict impartiality when advising councillors. Not EDDC’s Mark Williams!

Last night, asked to give procedural advice on Cllr Claire Wright’s motion to pause the relocation juggernaut pending an independent survey of the Knowle offices, he opined that Claire’s motion was “rubbish”.

He had already insisted on inserting a phrase into her motion that only “some councillors” on the Scrutiny Committee were concerned about relocation plans. This was disingenuous:  eight councillors on the watchdog had voted for a delay, with four abstentions.

Mr Williams has form when it comes to biased interference in controversial political issues.

SIN-ners will remember his blatant obstruction of the work of the committee investigating the council’s links with the East Devon Business Forum lobby group.

And at the last full Council Meeting in December he stopped the Council Chair from answering a question about the Tory Whip’s insulting comments on independent councillors. In so doing, the CEO revealed that a confidential complaint about Cllr Twiss had been made, and he identified the complainant.

Mr Williams is a lawyer –Has he read the Code for Council Employees?

EDDC stoops to new low

27 Feb

Democracy plummeted at East Devon District Council last night,  at a full council meeting crowded with the public. The main business was to consider the budget, including expenses incurred by Cabinet’s decision to relocate the District’s HQ to Skypark ( a vast new  business site outside Exeter).

In public questions, a  series of local residents questioned the incomprehensible choice of a site on the edge of the District, with serious problems of accessibility for most residents, and the rocketing cost of the project in a time of desperate austerity.

None of their questions was answered. As usual it was left to a few Independents and Lib Dems to represent the public interest.

Cllr Claire Wright reminded the councillors that the watchdog Scrutiny Committee on January 30 had recommended that the project  be put on hold pending an independent survey of the existing council offices. She proposed a motion that the council should accept this.

This provoked a clearly co-ordinated outbreak of personal abuse on Cllr Wright from the Tories led by Deputy Leader Andrew Moulding. Incredibly, Scrutiny Committee member Mike Allen who had previously described the leadership’s “lemming” style of financial management, now changed his tune. Obsequiously, he towed the party line, with his own disrespectful jibes towards Claire.

Council Leader  Diviani added his usual economies with the truth, claiming that Skypark was a vibrant new business pole, only recently marketed.

The wonders of modern technology enabled his rosy claim  to be scotched almost immediately with an ipad email showing that the agents had been marketing it since 2010, with only two takers  so far, an EON Energy Centre (2012) and an Ambulance Operations Centre (2014).

The vote on the motion surprised no one. Nor did the fact that a named recorded vote was refused.

The Minority Independents and Lib Dems for, and serried ranks of Tory Majority sheep against –with the honourable exception of Sidmouth Cllr Graham Troman.

With that challenge out of the way and, before most people realised, Cabinet minutes were nodded through which means that land at Skypark can be bought and the the Knowle can be marketed –all without serious debate.

More comment at http://saveoursidmouth.com/2014/02/27/knowle-sale-and-skypark-spend-voted-through-under-veil-of-cabinet-minutes/

Sidmouth’s Day at the Local Plan inspection – highlights

26 Feb

As anticipated, there was too much to cover in the Sidmouth hearing – many speakers (though as mentioned before not a single EDDC councillor asked to speak – odd that, all of them thinking alike again as they seem to do all the time these days, though they are not, of course whipped).

Day 2 will be Wednesday 12 March.

Inspector Thickett maintained a neutral demeanour throughout, as befits a Planning Inspector!

For further highlights, see

http://saveoursidmouth.com/

and

The Express and Echo report here:

http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/8220-Sidmouth-does-need-employment-land-8221/story-20706337-detail/story.html

Richard Eley questioned the absurdity of the commuting calculations, where it is claimed that EDDC, once again, fails to have a firm grip on basic mathematics.

EDDC officers looked uncomfortable when asked to explain their assessments of the relative merits of the four employment sites that had been put forward.

Dr Stephen Wozniak gave an impressive  presentation of flooding issues.

One highlight was when EDDC officer Matt Dickens said that he never expected the Sidford site to be delivered in its entirety because of the need to address the flooding issues, to which Ian Barlow responded: “Does that mean we don’t need 5.5 hectares”!