Nov 13 2014

Council Meeting 7.30pm Tonight: Hall vs Perry over Chief Exec’s Return

harrow_council_logoJust a reminder that there is a Council Meeting tonight, November 13th,  at the Civic Centre from 7.30. This is sure to be a interesting one, as it’ll include a debate on bringing back the old Chief Executive, Michael Lockwood.

Obviously, the Labour Group headed by part-timer Cllr David Perry will be voting to return him to his old role; Cllr Susan Hall and the Conservatives will naturally be voting to save the borough £1,000,000 by not bringing him back.

iharrow.com almost sits on the fence on this. We can see the need for someone to help Dave run the council, as it must be difficult to be be effective when working only two days a week in the role of leader, so getting in some hired help does, in a sense, seem a good idea. On the other hand, it is a huge expense, and the role has been performed – at least, in part – by Paul Nasjarek for only a a small increase. That said, it was Michael Lockwood who kept talking a year or so ago when the Labour administration first played the ‘vexatious FOI requests’ card – and of course, when he left, the Conservative administration continued to be be open and transparent. Now that the shutters have, once again, been pulled down and the Labour administration have retreated back to the secretive way of working, perhaps Michael, when he returns, will work to increase communication with those of us who sit outside the ‘official journalists’ that the council will only talk to.

Tonight’s Council Meeting should be a good one – and we wouldn’t be surprised to see Michael Lockwood hiimself in the public gallery there. Its not often you get a chance to see your prospective boss and your ex-boss slug it out about whether to employ you or not, so if Mike could stomach the stress of a full-on battle being played out in the chamber, it’s almost certainly going to be an entertaining evening.

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  1. Linda Robinson

    For those of us who can’t be there, will anyone be recording this meeting and making it available for us to view or hear online anywhere, as has often been suggested in the past and is now allowed under new government regulations?

    It’ll be really interesting to see how our representatives behave over this matter.

  2. Concerned Harrovian

    Wow! Seems as if it will be like a King Kong versus Godzilla debate. I hope the fact that residents had no say in whether the Chief Executive was brought back will be highlighted. We are after all paying the CEO salary through our council tax.

  3. j p hobbs

    Well he ignored my FOI about the station stealth camera for a very long time , however I did get a reply the morning after I put his email and a message on Facebook , coincidence ? I doubt it .

  4. Rupika Dave

    Could someone please respond to Linda Robinson question on whether the meeting was recorded and will it be made available to us plebs who are only paying our taxes to keep this lot in a job?

  5. Rosalyn

    Someone in the public gallery was recording it but I don’t know who she was. I was there and it would certainly be worth viewing!

  6. Rupika Dave

    Paul Boakes could you please enquire on our behalf? It would be helpful to know just how transparent this new administration really intends to be. So far, all we have heard is spin!

    1. iharrow.com

      Rupika… I’ve asked until I’m blue in the face. I don’t have the time to do it (I’d want to do it properly) although others here -Ricky123 have offered – and I can’t see the council willing to do anything by begrudgingly permit it.

      You might have heard that the council again declared my requests for information vexatious… Perhaps some of my requests are touching on sensitive matters!

      Transparent? I’m not seeing anything approaching transparency from this lot. Dave won’t even meet with me. But then, when you only do the job two days a week, I guess all the unimportant things – like taxpaying residents – go to the bottom of the pile.

  7. Rupika Dave

    That is very disappointing to hear Paul but not totally shocking. We have become immune to the manner in which we taxpayers are dismissed by this motley crew. I believe someone on here previously suggested that the CEO should hold a monthly surgery with the residents of Harrow so that we can put our concerns directly to him. Susan Hall was up for that. I wonder if Michael Lockwood would consider that? Too transparent for this administration perhaps? As for Dave, well, I would love to do my job 2 days a week and be totally unaccountable for my time or delivery of my objectives. However, I work in the private sector and I am afraid it is all results driven. If only our council members and our CEO were appraised on a regular basis to determine their suitability for the job they hold. We should at least be gifted that task don’t you think?

  8. Concerned Harrovian


    I like your idea that councillors should have yearly appraisals and be paid by results. We could fill out the appraisal forms before the Council Tax demands are sent out in April. When the appraisal forms are in we could then decide what payments councillors should receive.

    My thinking is they would be refunding council tax to residents. How much could we deduct for ignoring the voters whom they consider proles and not worthy of their attention?

    What do other commenters think we should put on the yearly appraisal form and can anyone design such a form? One of my marks would be for transparency and the other for listening skills. At present I would award a mark of 0 or a minus mark both times.

  9. Susan Hall

    Concerned Harrovian please do not put us all in the same category. Some of us work extremely hard, we listen and are most certainly transparent in our dealings.

    This new Labour administration is a disgrace when it comes to transparency. They promised we, the opposition, would be put on Cabinet in order to scrutinise their decisions yet we have not been allowed to join Cabinet.. The nonsense around the hiring of the Chief Executive needs to be closer examined and as for listening, residents certainly did not see the need to hire to such an expensive post yet they were ignored. We are as frustrated by all this as residents are but please be assured that does not mean we are not working hard. We will fight against the loss of our precious Art Centre, the closing of park gates, the emptying of dog bins and of course we will fight to retain our front line staff. As for the funding of the voluntary sector its a no brainer. The voluntary sector in Harrow is not only outstanding but from a financial point of view save us taxpayers a fortune and they should be treated with respect and funded correctly.

    1. Harrow Dude

      What Would Susie Do?…

  10. Linda Robinson

    Thanks for sticking up for the voluntary sector Susan. For all those involved in voluntary organisations and community groups, Portfolio Holder Cllr Sue Anderson is holding another “consultation meeting”, to find out what some of the proposed cuts might mean and how they would impact on residents.

    It’s to be held in the Members’ Lounge at the Civic Centre next Tuesday 25 November from 6 to 7 pm. She says she wants to hear from as many organisations as possible. So it’s not just about charities with lots of vulnerable service users, but any non-profit groups that you might volunteer with or belong to, like your local park users’ group or youth club or residents’ association. How would the cuts affect you and your work in the community?

    Register to attend next Tuesday and have your say, by emailing community.development@harrow.gov.uk. It’s true that this administration hasn’t been much use at being open, listening properly or making sound decisions so far. We must keep letting them hear our voices though.

    As you’d expect, the topic is due to be discussed at Harrow Voluntary and Community Sector Forum, which is the previous day, Monday 24 November, from 10am to 12, also at the Civic Centre. All community groups are welcome at the Forum too. See the agenda at http://goo.gl/6rCHjo, and go to http://goo.gl/iscAJB to say if you’re going to be there.

    We may not all consider ourselves volunteers, but we’re all part of the voluntary and community sector!

  11. Gary

    Susan, yet again you desire to mislead residents, who did you consult with when removing the CEO, the answer is simple no one. you consistently profess to support frontline services yet you report in the local media inaccurate salaries of those who provide these essential services. In regards to the dog bins you need to be open and tell the residents that this is an external contract not in-house, also as shadow portfolio holder you should be fully aware of disposal of this type of waste and what the European directive stipulates, please provide the relevant passage. can you also inform us of the extra cost of livery to council vehicles purple, your own choice? What drive to mitigate the draconian measures enacted by your friend Cameron would you have made on the £75million due to the fact that you consistently fail to say? However you appear to praise your MP Colleagues on their ability to receive an 11% pay increase, whilst condemning frontlines staff rights to take action on the governments 1% pay increase for those actually carrying out the services to Harrows most vulnerable. you also failed to address the 200k management costs on the arts centre, or was your vision to introduce Broadway musicals to Harrow to cover the high salary cost?

    Give us resolutions not problems Susan, or is it simply you do not know how to overcome Cameron’s cuts, please don’t ark on about the CEO post, £1 million over four years hardly makes an impact to the damage the Tory Coalition Government are enacting on all working class people, very much the same as they did in 1990 when people died due to the failure to recognise the importance of the ambulance service and the poultry pay they received in comparison to MP’s. All of this could be a factor to your second loss at the polls, always a bridesmaid never the bride.

  12. Krishna Lathia-James

    while the vulnerable are suffering in the community and their day center has been closed. Taxi trips cut down, Freedom passes withdrawn from the most needy one person the chief exe will be earning £160,000 + and keep what he was given on the last parting. I have nothing against him personally but why did nobody listen to suggestions of taking 5% off people with large salaries, Michael may remember! asking the then leader to let me express my views.

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