It’s been over two months since the Leader of Harrow Council, Cllr Sachin Shah, last put pen to paper to write his blog on the council’s web site. As an gesture of helpfulness, we offer this, a fictional account from a fictional leader of a fictional council, which might give Cllr Shah some ideas.
I do hope you had a pleasant summer. The Corporate Director of Resources & Commercial and I made the most of the summer by visiting other councils, to see how they are coping during these times of austerity, and you’ll be pleased to know that in efforts to save money, both of us shared the council’s private jet as much as possible. I would also point out that we no longer stock Dom Perignon on board since the Director of Finance & S151 Officer got a bit tipsy during a ‘fact finding’ mission to St Lucia earlier in the summer. Our trip to the far-flung parts of Australia were productive, with at least two hours of meetings every single week.
As Leader of the Council, I never stop learning, and every day is, as far as I’m concerned, a school day. The book, Corporate Finance for Dummies, was gratefully received from the Conservative Group, and I look forward to spending some weekends at my cottage in the country going over Chapter Two: Revenue vs Capital Spend, as soon as the Chief Executive has finished borrowing my calculator and abacus.
There has been a slight rise in complaints over the summer, especially around black food-waste bins, and the smells emanating from within, during the heat. I have discussed this fully with the Divisional Director Environment & Culture, who tells me that this is due to residents placing food waste into them. I shall be discussing with our comms teams on how we can educate residents to NOT place food waste in the black food-waste bins, which will hopefully solve the problem.
Our 159 petition is, I’m pleased to report, doing splendidly, having recently got it’s tenth signature. I have given a seat on cabinet to my predecessor (along with seven grand a year) to take ownership of the campaign. I understand that he is currently in Poundland looking for a suitable brass-effect trophy to award the tenth signatory, a lady of uncertain years named Marge, with as a token of thanks. We are currently discussing whether it would be possible to hand out Amazon vouchers for future signatures as additional tokens of thanks.
In more local news, I have been leading a cross-party working group, with Cllrs Gonorrhea and Chlamydia from the Conservative Group, and myself and Cllr Anilingus from the Labour Group on how we can reduce workload for our hard working local councillors. As you know, I have a self-imposed limit of just one day a week on council matters, ensuring I switch off my mobile phone on days when I’m not ‘at work’. This work-life balance is only fair, and I shall be pressuring Cllrs Gonorrhea and Chlamydia to engage in a healthy debate on this at our next working party meeting. If necessary, I shall appoint another councillor from my group to sway the voting in my favour.
There has been some negativity in the local press of late about discretionary payrises given to some of my leadership team. I can assure you that the two people involved are worth every penny, and work extremely long hours, often being in the office for 40, sometimes 42 hours in a single week. Such dedication to the welfare of the borough should not go unrewarded, and several local kebab shops have noted that any departure of the two individuals would leave a huge hole in their takings.
Finally, it is with great sadness we say goodbye to the Director of Customer Service & IT this week. She actually left seven months ago, but nobody realised, and it was only when Betty from the canteen asked the Chief Executive if he could remind the Director to repay the packet of Benson and Hedges she’d borrowed, that her departure came to light.