Thursday, 21 June 2012

Accountability in Local Government

Here in rural Leicestershire we have recently had a case where the Chairman of our County Council has been found guilty of bringing the council into disrepute after breaking the council's code of conduct over his expensesOf course it transpired that his wife handled all his finances (not me Guv) and he had no idea what was coming in and out of his accounts. I reiterate he IS Chairman of the County Council!

This is the same man who in the last five years has racked up over a million pounds in expenses including £210,000 paid to a chauffeur to drive him to the theatre and events like Silverstone! Some councillors have called for him to be removed from office but predictably justice has descended into a party political issue and his own side (Conservative) voted to retain his services.

So his 'punishment',imposed by the council's quaintly termed 'Standards Committee', is a serious censure which means he must undergo further training and apologise to the council!! This is a man who failed to repay expenses received when he visited Brussels (to receive his orders from the EU). They have a ridiculous system where East Midlands Council (funded by us) pay for him to go to Brussels and Brussels then gives him money to repay the EMC! We don't yet know how much the EU gave him but he failed to reimburse the EMC (or perhaps his wife did).

If he cannot conduct his own financial affairs in an appropriate manner how on earth can he chair the County Council? His conduct has been disgraceful but amazingly he is allowed to continue to plunder the public purse and we the electorate allow it.

It is an indictment on local government and clearly illustrates that we cannot trust our local councillors. They will do anything to retain their party political battle lines but when push comes to shove they all vote for the same system. We cannot afford to maintain public toilets and libraries but we can allow one individual a million pounds in expenses! I just wonder what the rest are claiming?

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