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Nov 06 2014

Harrow: The “Money-Making Merry-go-Round”

harrow_council_logoHarrow’s decision to get Iron Man MIke back as Chief Exec, after a brief hiatus, has upset Daily Mail readers. In what one resident called a “…a money-making merry-go-round for everyone at the council…” and another declaring “‘It makes me sick to the stomach that the council… can think it’s alright to waste money like this…” the Mail attracts a number of comments on the story:

The Mail quote Dave – being a Thursday, they managed to get hold of him – as saying “After an open recruitment process with some very strong candidates, we are very pleased that Michael has accepted our offer to return to Harrow…” Perhaps someone would like to submit an FoI request to the Council asking to see the notes that the interview panel made of ALL the candidates – just to see how well Mike did score in the ‘open recruitment process’ – the council is, yet again, stalling all our requests.

The Mail’s reader comments are worth a quick flick through:

“That’s what you get with Labour. A revolving door where people are fired, rehired, acting as consultants, all with the tax payer forking out the bill. They bankrupted us and still don’t get that there’s no money to spend on useless jobs and people who refuse to work,” says CC of Berks. The number of  ‘consultants’ at the council – on vast daily rates – has been commented upon before by Cllr James Bond.

[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]”It makes me sick to the stomach…”[/pullquote]Already, there are calls for him to quit: “The locals should find out who authorised this and have a word! It is only taxpayers money….they are taking the mickey out of us! Get rid of him now!!” screams Chiffy from London. Well, we know who authorised it: Part-timer Dave Perry, of course.

Stating the obvious, trophy54 says: “Oh well it`s only council tax payers money.” Yes, £160,000 per year of it – some £1,000,000 over the next four years if you total up the package.

TDLeeds offers some sensible advise: “Mr Pickles, will you please get off your more than ample derriere and go up to this council and sort this out . Either he repays the dosh, loses his job or the councillors responsible for this debacle repay the taxpayers out of their own pockets.” Good point, TD – we’ll be writing to Mr Pickles about the miserable mess that this borough is in.

Other comments suggest that Mike should repay his golden goodbye, that this is a conspiracy, that it’s jobs for the boys, and so on. Others point out that it’s “contempt for the council tax payers of Harrow.”

The Evening Standard carries a similar story, screaming “Council boss re-hired just nine months after £168,000 payoff for losing job”

There’s now word as yet as to whether Mike will be asked for his payoff back, but no doubt Cllr Hall will we screaming for that to be put right. Remember, council tax payers: it’s YOUR money that the council is spending on this, so that Dave can carry on picking up some £40,000 a year for being a two-day-a-week Council Leader. Meanwhile, the council is considering closing the Harrow Arts Centre, turning off street lights, ceasing cleaning streets, leaving parks unlocked, closing children centre, etc, etc, etc.

The irony? To cap it all, even the council doesn’t know when he left. In the PR spin rolled out to the council’s favourite (compliant?) journos, we were told: ” Mr Lockwood… left the authority last year.” According to the PR spin at the time, Mike said: “I will leave the authority at the end of February 2014” At the time, he also told us of the decision that it was “…in the best interests of the council and for me personally.,..” – so what’s changed, Mike?

 

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7 comments

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  1. Bill Phillips

    What has changed of course is that the people of Harrow voted out probably the worst council leader it has ever had and voted in an administration that said that it would consult on reinstating the role of Chief Exec. Mike Lockwood is one of the best.

  2. Harrow Dude

    Not sure interview notes fall within the remit of an FOI but I’m all for anything that upsets a Daily Mail reader…doesn’t take much they are DM readers after all.

  3. BurstingBillsBubble

    Sorry to burst your bubble Bill but the only reason Labour are now in power is because they won more seats. Yes, I know that’s the way it works but…you should remember that the Conservatives actually got more votes.

    The current administrations actions in re-instating the Chief Exec are therefore not representing the voters of Harrow – Susan had more support than the worst council leader ever …. AKA Dave.

    …and with regard the consultation on reinstating the Chief Exec, well the farce of that has already been well documented on iHarrow – it was a total sham and like so many of Labours ‘consultations’ was a total waste of time.

    …and how you can trust the integrity of a man who said when leaving the council that it was “…in the best interests of the council and for me personally.,..” only to come crawling back some months later is beyond me – “One of the best” ? I don’t think so.

    1. Harrow Dude

      Sorry to burst your bubble but the only reason Susie was leader for 7ish months was less than aboveboard…

  4. Bill Phillips

    Thanks BustingBillsBubble

    Michael is a person of integrity and decided that the best for the people of Harrow at that time was to leave rather than fight Susan Hall. Coming back under an administration that wishes to follow the principles of traditional best practice is extremely good for the people of Harrow.

    Elected councillors can do positive harm if they misunderstand their role. As I often tell my ex colleagues, 63 people selected through the political process can not run a £500,000,000+ organisation, that is not their job. The role of Councillors is to represent the people of their wards, to scrutinise the work of the council and to be a part of the policy and decision making process with the very expensive skilled experts that the council has to employ.

    I would urge my friends in the Conservative group to contemplate this point when they next have a chance to elect a new leader. It is important for Harrow that those groups that have aspirations to be elected to power in our council choose leaders that are up to the job. They will not win back the confidence of the people of Harrow until they do, As you can see, you need a broad support across the whole of Harrow and not just very strong support in a few wards. Also you need to choose someone who will unite, not divide, the local party.

  5. BurstingBillsBubble

    Bill if you took off your rose tinted glasses you might see the position for what it really is. What sort of a CEO is he if he wasn’t prepared to stand his ground when challenged by Susan? Surely the truth is he found his position untenable and was unable to defend himself.

    ..and I agree, 63 people cannot run a £500,000+ organisation, especially when they are led by a part timer !

  6. Harrow Dude

    November 2013 Susie said and I quote “Michael has played a key part in Harrow’s transformation journey and under his direction we have been able to redesign and improve services while balancing our budgets.” The truth is Susie wanted to flex her bingo wings after she usurped Thaya in September 2013 and what better way than to take out the man at the top.

    You can build a throne with bayonets, but you can’t sit on it for long. Eh Susie?…

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