Not much to report on last night's council meeting, as you might expect much of the meeting was accompanied by the usual petty point scoring and general argybargy. As always when referring to council meetings, I don't take copious notes, it's not a verbatim report and probably not entirely accurate but hopefully not too far from the reality.
Anyway guided by my unreliable memory, the thing started with a quick tussle over whether item 23 on the agenda should be debated in public or not, much hot air exchanged, my understanding is the item was excluded from public scrutiny,"on principle” or simply because it could be, since much commercially sensitive info is already in the public domain.
The next highlight was the Leaders report, which gained a fair bit of flak from the Labour side firstly I think over, whether questions could be asked, then once the dust settled on that issue, an explosion of indignation occurred because to accompany Sandy Ezekiel's report, he wished to enhance it by employing quotations from various sources, explaining how dire the country's financial state, is currently, Labour politicians seem to think this was a bit political? So in the end we were saved from having Sandy Ezekiel read his leader's report.
Martin Wise introduced the subject of East Kent payroll services, notable inasmuch as its the precursor of savage cuts which will have to be made to Thanet District council over proceeding years, I have to say listening to the outline of how payroll services etc. are going to be streamlined, it seems to be a bit of a fudge, since although the majority of the work will be as I understand located in Dover, TDC will still have one or two involved locally. Naturally this streamlined service has been created by "officers" so to my mind is probably no where near as ruthless as it needs be, and brings me back to Turkeys not voting for Christmas.
Perhaps the only real excitement of the whole evening came towards the end, when a member of her majesty's press was spotted by Sandy Ezekiel taking a photograph of proceedings, I honestly can't see the problem but the journalist was told not to publish the photograph, now I know in some primitive societies it's thought that taking the photographs will steal a person's soul, although that said, TV cameras are perfectly acceptable in the house of commons where things are a tad more professional.
Secrecy and control of information seems to be an obsession with Thanet District Council, and blogs not for the first time were mentioned during the debate on whether or not to allow item 23 of the agenda to be discussed in public. Anyway at more on that subject shortly.
Just for balance here is Clive Hart’s reaction to the evening
TORY DICTATORSHIP ATTEMPT AT TDC!
UPROAR & CHAOS IN THE THANET DISTRICT COUNCIL CHAMBER
Another impromptu performance from Tory TDC Leader Cllr. Sandy Ezekiel caused pandemonium in the council chamber at Thursday evening's meeting of Thanet District Council and at one point there was even an open attempt to ban opposition councillors from taking part in the proceedings.
Firstly, Cllr. Ezekiel tabled a written Leader's report to which opposition councillors were told they would have no verbal right of reply. This in itself caused uproar in the chamber with serious concerns raised that such procedure could well be against the TDC constitution.
Not content with silencing opposition to his written report, Cllr. Ezekiel then tried to give a further power point presentation which, with only one slide up on the screen, was clearly shown to be a party political stunt.
Despite a torrent of calls from the chamber for Cllr. Ezekiel to abandon his blatant attempt at a Conservative party political power point broadcast, he simply would not give in and at one point he even begged the chairman to let him show his slides without commentary.
Cllr. Ezekiel's desperate pleas eventually proved futile, the council chairman was having none of it and after several minutes of chaos, she finally accepted Opposition Leader Cllr. Clive Hart's earlier proposal to simply note the written part of the Leader's report only and to move on.
Opposition Leader and Labour councillor Clive Hart said "I was appalled by Cllr. Ezekiel's behaviour and what happened here in the council chamber this evening. We deal with written reports all the time at TDC and wherever necessary we robustly debate them. The Leaders written report was supposed to be a new item for the council agenda but no-one had informed members that verbal questioning would not be permitted, that simply can't be right. If ever there was an attempt to gag opposition councillors this was it!
Then, as if that weren't enough, we had the shameless attempt by Cllr. Ezekiel to use the council chamber and its equipment, all paid for by ratepayers, for nothing more than a party political stunt. You can rest assured, I will be seeing the TDC Chief Executive ASAP".