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Mar 01 2013

Harrow’s 2013/14 Council Budget Meeting: Councillor caught napping, other reading newspaper

harrow_council_logo2Budgets. Hardly the thing you’d choose to read if you were wanting to stay awake, but then we elect councillors to read these things and give such matters their full attention. These are, after all, the people that are supposed to be running the borough for us.

However, this is Harrow: a administration rocked by scandal, a council where Porfolio Holders go off quaffing champagne rather than talking about changes which affect their areas of responsibility, by councillors getting in a tizzy over us using their Facebook profile photographs to run alongside articles, by a council with an Information Management team that is failing in its most basic duties. It’s a long list – those are just the first examples that come to mind.

At Thursday’s Council meeting, Cllr Krishna James found the discussion so riveting that she managed to doze off for a while. We can’t be sure if she’d dribbled onto her paperwork (yes, we’ve all sat next to that person on the tube), or whether she was snoring – although, to be honest, we didn’t actually hear any snoring. We’ve already emailed her, asking for a comment.

Update: Cllr James replies – I wasn’t asleep!

And if that wasn’t bad enough, we had Cllr Phil O’Dell flicking through his newspaper – that’s the same councillor who got himself labelled as ‘Champagne Phil’ when he trotted off to the MJ Awards instead of talking about his Public Realm Integrated Service Model. We asked Phil what newspaper he was reading at the time, and whether he considers Page 3 to be more important that doing, uh, what we pay him for.

Still, with such important matters to discuss, you’d expect that this could well be a meeting which would run into the small hours, just like it used to, according to Cllr Christine Bednell, who fondly recalled staying to 4.00am once to finish up council business. How things have changed in her 42 years as a councillor, not that she looks a day over 21. But not so – by 10.30, no doubt Cllr James was ready for bed, Cllr O’Dell had probably finished the Sudoku, and the rest of the councillors had also had enough. Home to hot chocolate, a warm bath and then bed. Or off to the pub for a swift half to celebrate.

Needless to say, the Budget got approved. And that article will come later when we’ve untangled it.

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5 comments

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  1. Praxis Reform

    Is there a transcript of Cllr James’ speech? it seemed to be the biggest load of almost incoherent nonsense to me, with nothing to do with the Budget in it.

    Just as disgraceful was Cllr Ferry also flicking though a newspaper, although he managed to finish before this lack of respect was pointed out to the other Councillors.

    I’d figured voting would split along Party lines, and the speeches wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference; but come on Councillors, play the game, and at least try and look like you’re interested in local affairs.

  2. Stephen Lewis

    This Labour group should be ashamed of themselves, having sat through almost 3 hours of it’s all the government’s fault! ! which anyone with an ounce of common sense would know is totally untrue. I think people need to realise the enormous impact this is going to have on a number of vulnerable Harrow residents. I do know that all Conservative councillors are here to listen to the issues and help where they can. So my advice TAKE ADVANTAGE of your Conservative councillors.

  3. Morepowertothepeople

    I do realise what an enormous impact this is going to have on Harrow Residents…… It is a shame that the Leader of the Council and some of his shambolic Cllrs do not! I am tired of hearing the same broken record….. it is the Govts fault. If other Councils have managed to freeze Council tax then there is no excuse for Harrow not to have done so. It is purely down to bad management, incompetent people, and not being able to use a calculator properly!

  4. Cllr Willy Stoodley

    A terrible thing, jealousy…

    IF YOU WANT YOUR BELOVED TORIES TO RUN HARROW COUNCIL YOU WILL HAVE TO WIN! And as the Tories have only run Harrow Council for 4 years since the 1990s you have two hopes of that: Bob Hope & NO hope!

    Oh and I notice no mention of Richard Romain playing games on his i-pad. Or Joyce Nicolay GENUINELY falling asleep. Or the Tories not knowing whether to stay or go during their DISGRACEFUL walk-out (what do you have to say about that Paul? Leaving before the meeting is over – shouldn’t they pay back an appropriate per centage of their allowance for doing that?!!).

    FACT: We’re in charge – deal with it! (God you lot get sooo upset and tetchy – it just sums up the difference between Labour and Tories – we’re NICE!!).

  5. Morepowertothepeople

    Cllr Stoodley you are too funny…….Oh and deluded!

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