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Oct 12 2012

Susan Says: Labour Councillor Wined and Dined as Public Realm Jobs Cut

On the night over 50 jobs were cut from Harrow Council’s public realm department, the Labour councillor responsible was attending an awards’ dinner at a central London hotel. Cllr. Phillip O’Dell, portfolio holder for Environment and Community Safety, attended the National Transport Awards at the Riverbank Park Plaza, instead of the Cabinet meeting of 11th October – where the Public Realm Integrated Service Model (PRISM) was pushed through.

Cllr. O’Dell was previously absent when PRISM was first passed by Cabinet in September, and was a no-show at the cross-party Call-In Committee meeting on 1st October which referred the decision back to Cabinet. PRISM was successfully called-in after both UNISON and Conservative councillors questioned the legal advice and other issues surrounding the decision.

Conservative Group Leader Cllr. Susan Hall said: “Cllr. O’Dell’s behaviour over this decision has been appalling, and his lack of involvement shows enormous contempt for both hard- working Council staff and Harrow residents – who rely on public realm services every day. PRISM is the centrepiece of his department’s budget, and he couldn’t even be bothered to present it to Cabinet or speak on it at Call-In – sending a written statement instead.”

Cllr. Hall continued: “That he chose to attend a swanky awards dinner instead of seeing it through Cabinet is a further sign of just how seriously he takes his responsibilities as portfolio holder. I know from speaking to UNISON that he actually refused to meet with them over this decision, and shying away from taking public responsibility for it is nothing short of pathetic. Council employees and Harrow residents deserve so much better from portfolio holders than this.”

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