Oct 02 2014

Harrow Labour’s Plan to Spend £150k on Chief Exec Gets Go-Ahead

harrow_council_logoTonight saw the call-in – a second look at a cabinet decision – of the barmy idea of bring back a Chief Executive to help Dave – who, again, didn’t turn up – run the council.

To be fair, it was pretty much a case of the Harrow Conservative group flogging a dead horse. Outnumbered, they really had a little chance of winning this one, since Labour had their boy in the prime position of chair. And of course, nobody’s going to go against the Party, and risk losing their plump Special Responsibility Allowance, which is their reward for toeing the party line.

But it’s important that challenges are seen to be made, and this – as in most cases right now – it’s important to be seen fighting the battle, even if you’re going to lose the war.

Tonight’s meeting gives Dave the go ahead to continue to leave potholes unfilled, streets unswept and parks unlocked, as he spends £150k of residents money on bringing in the hired help.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if the new Chief Exec, when he arrives, inadvertently axed a number of those who voted for his return?

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  1. Yogesh

    It was a done deal from day one. Did the residents really believe there would be any change after a call-in. Well here come the dirty streets, enlarged potholes, and brand new expensive chief exec

  2. Susan Hall

    Yogesh, you are correct and what a complete disgrace. When I was Leader of the Council I considered that since it had an expense tag of 30k it most certainly deserved 5 day week attention. Not like ‘part time Perry’ the Labour Leader who does 2 days a week. I loved doing the job and gave it my all, hence I did not need a Chief Executive and would have saved the taxpayers 1m over the four years. To admit that you need these massively heavily paid executives is ridiculous. If you have passion, the will and the intelligence to do the job then just get on with it. I am so fed up with those who make such a fuss about consultation and yet ignore the results, will not make decisions and take responsibility for those decisions and worse still will not open up to transparency or scrutiny. This Labour Administration is a total disgrace. Labour Politicians, show what you are worth and let me and my deputy sit on Cabinet and provide proper scrutiny and then you can attempt to justify your decisions. At the moment you wont even do that. Harrow residents is this what you really want?

  3. Timeforchange

    I agree Yogesh along with the probable closure of the Harrow Arts Centre and the Harrow Museum. Thanks for trying anyway Susan

  4. PraxisReform

    If they’re shelling out £150K for the Chief Executive, then the question we all need to be asking is will this individual save the borough more than £150K? (excluding all the genius ideas to close nearly every service that the Council currently provides, that we currently have)

    If the answer is yes, then it’s money well spend, if the answer is no, then we should save money by getting rid of Dave…

  5. j p hobbs

    Another waste of space for Harrow well done .

  6. Marcello Borgese

    @PR, you undoubtedly provide a good service to the people of Harrow with your extensive knowledge of current affairs and your highly pertinent challenges to authority figures but I think you’re being a bit hard on Susan. By openly being available for dialogue and publicising her opinions, which is what we want all politicians to do, she becomes an easy target.

    Let’s concentrate the majority of our fire-power on ‘Part-Time Perry and his Merry Men’ – they are the ones who need to be held to account if they would ever come out from behind that cloak of secrecy.

    Susan, could you scrutinise the recruitment and selection process of the new Chief-Exec? Previously (if I recall correctly) the editor of iHarrow has tried to get hold of a job description and a list of objectives/targets for the Chief Exec but was told that we should not concern ourselves with such things but we should continue paying our taxes which fund their wages and activities.

    The new Chief Exec should know that s/he needs to save £76m in the next four years i.e. the usual £75m + the £1m that it will cost to have a Chief Exec.

    1. iharrow.com

      They finally published those job specification and other details here (see item #9)::


    2. PraxisReform

      Thank you for your kind words Marcello.

      I can only say that I must have slightly higher expectations of our politicians than you, since I consider communicating with residents to be a basic part of the role of a local councillor; and not a bonus or some special service that we should consider ourselves lucky to have.

      For the record, I’ve always been agnostic about the Chief Executive, and it certainly seems like the candidate will be getting an awful lot of money. But, I can imagine that just like a good Chief Executive in a top company can drive that business forward – saving money and developing profitability – the same might just be true for a Council also.

      The problem however, is that we have what I can only politely describe as a bunch of cowboys running the council, to-wit I read in this weeks Harrow Times, that £80,000 will be blown cleaning just 11 war memorials, and the borough is further going to be forced to put it’s hand into it’s collective pocket to pay legal costs relating to the recent Barnet football club fiasco – so add another half million to that £76,000,000 that the borough is supposed to be finding somewhere.

      Hence, I am extremely doubtful of any supposed benefits accruing from the appointment of a CEO, especially after the selection of an invisible man to run the political side of the council, who is apparently supposed to work 2 days/week, but can’t even mange that.

      Finally, I’ll say we gain nothing from listening to a Councillor that spends her time trying to score political points (this is shooting fish in a barrel, if Labour won’t defend themselves), and who after manipulating her way into a position of power last year spent most of her tenure trying to create a scare about queues of immigrants allegedly lining up to flood into the country, claim benefits and take take the jobs of British workers…

  7. Brad Pitt

    Susan Hall
    You talk about what you did when you were Leader(not even elected, you manipulated your way in), you did such a wonderful job!! That’s why residents voted you out at the first opportunity! Why does there always have to be sniping at each other? Why not try working together for the sake of all the residents of Harrow? If not, there will never be a Conservative council and certainly not while you keep going on about all the things that YOU did in what turned out to be a very short term of office as council leader.

  8. Angelina

    Well the job description is obviously something David Perry is not up to!
    Susan Hall
    I ask again is there any other body we can complain to about our Leader only working 2 days a week and the lack of involving us the tax payers and residents who will foot the bill for a chief exec we obviously do not need. Furious!

  9. Susan Hall

    Angelina, you could write to the Labour Party head Office but I doubt much would be done. You could also try Gareth Thomas their Harrow West MP.
    Brad Pitt, how can we work together when Labour do not include us in anything – at all. We are allowed minimal time to ask them questions at Cabinet and Council beyond that they are not arround and are non responsive as is evidenced in their ability to ignore this site as just one example.
    Marchello, thank you for your understanding. The New Chief Exec. will of course take responsibility for reducing the spend and making savings. However the staff we have at the moment are doing this – so I am not sure of PReform point. We will be on the selection committee but Labour have the votes so they will chose. What a waste of taxpayers money

  10. PraxisReform

    @Susan Hall
    Point is we know the Labour councillors can’t match your guile and cunning, so in having to make cuts – where the Conservatives haven’t exactly left much leeway for the incoming administration, after having conducted expensive aerial surveys of the borough and other crazy projects they had no mandate for, the Labour councillors will have gone looking for inspiration from their Union paymasters.

    The Unions, whom we all know are only interested in building empires for themselves, seem to have used the same tactics that the Armed forces use each time they are asked to make cuts; i.e. to suggest the scrapping of Trooping the Colour and the Red Arrows, etc. knowing that anyone who accepted the proposition of such embarrassing cuts will look like a right wally when they are exposed to the inevitable public indignation.

    Substitute Harrow Arts Centre and the Harrow Local History Centre etc. for the above-mentioned cuts, and so, here in Harrow we have an F’ing Tory party (to paraphrase Mr Cameron) that has left the borough short of cash, and a Labour party bereft of ideas and being manipulated by the Unions, whilst the poor old Harrow Council tax payer is stuck in the middle of a bunch of stupid political power games.

    @Angelina: If it’s any help, I’ve tried complaining about Labour councillors to the Labour Party head Office before, and it did about as much good as complaining to CCHQ about Bob Blackman did.

  11. Susan Hall

    For Information PR. The first point is that in our short period of control we came in with a 13m plus underspend. The point you made about the aerial mapping is incorrect. It cost around 20k we received grant monies to assist we discovered half a dozen cannabis factories and located a minimum of 450 ‘beds in sheds’. Dont lets forget that the occupiers of ‘beds in sheds’ do not contribute to Council Tax. Thus this was a worthwhile exercise and had many other additional benefits like finding those with poor insulation etc. This was certainly not a ‘crazy’ project, it was innovative and productive.

    Your comments regarding the Unions I will leave for Paul’s readers to ponder however, thank you PR you really made me laugh with this and some might say ‘spot on’ ……I could not possibly comment 🙂

    1. PraxisReform

      You politicians (at least the ones that aren’t in hiding) just can’t seem to help telling us tall tales.

      “The campaign against beds in sheds is funded by £500,000 of cash set aside by the council to tackle the problem”
      Source: http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/local-news/gotcha-council-leader-susan-hall-6856007

      This was a massive invasion of privacy of law abiding citizens, for the sake of catching a few bad apples, just like the spy cameras you infested the borough with last time the F’ing Tories had any taste of power. All these £500,000’s I keep reading about add up you know…

      I also seem to recall seeing comment that many of those sheds with beds were known about already, just nobody at the Council could be bothered to follow up on the tip-offs that people had been sending in.

      Again, none of this was in the Conservative mandate, and since the Council doesn’t produce a proper set of accounts (as would have to be submitted to Companies house by a regular business), I have no idea how any of you can talk about underspends, especially since it seems highly likely that once one lot of flophouse tenants was evicted, a Nicholas van Hoogstraten type landlord would simply move a different lot of tenants into his garage / outhouse a few weeks later – thus nothing is gained because you’ve done nothing to tackle the root cause of the problem.

      But, I’ll use this opportunity to re-ask the question that goes unanswered every time the matter comes up:

      What exactly happened to the families living in those beds-in-sheds? Were they kicked out onto the streets to become homeless? Were they deported? Were they found alternative non-shed accommodation? Were they arrested? Put into concentration camps? Killed? Or do they still live in the same overcrowded outbuildings, with the council ignoring them?

    2. red mirror

      susan did you ask theresa may about endemic paedophilia in westminster and what she plans to do about it ? do you really care about the big issues or just picking on the down trodden and poor just spouting figures doesent make you a humanatarian when was the last time you went out unescorted and talked to the drunks the homeless the unfortunates and poor sods who have fallen through the cracks of this ever increasingly uncaring society ?DO YOU CARE ?or is it all about the image some poor soul finding comfort in a joint is hardly a public enemy

  12. Concerned Harrovian

    Why can’t councillors lead by example and turn out with a bucket, soapy water and a sponge to clean the war memorials? if there is the slightest hint of work to be done they are invisible. Yet they are keen to claim payment to suggest what work volunteers could do.

    I am still waiting for the picture of leader Dave in his wellingtons dredging the River Pinn and the Wealdstone Brook. How many black sacks of rubbish has he picked up so far? Paul could you publish any pictures you have of the administration doing the jobs they are so keen to volunteer others to do?

    1. red mirror

      dont hold tour breath matey your right though i must say well said

  13. Concerned Harrovian

    Does anyone know if all of the councillors live in Harrow? Are there any councillors representing the borough who do not live in Harrow?

    1. iharrow.com

      I think that to be (or remain) a councillor, that person has to either live or work in the borough. So it’s unlikley that any councillors managed to get around that, although there was one candidate back in May who “lived” in a hotel – more like a DSS flop house, if I recall.

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