Friday, July 27, 2007

Send In the clowns....

Well heres a funny thing taken from Chris Abbotts web site which just shows how much contradiction and backtrackin there is with the whole issue of the £12,000,000 black hole in the budget...

Thursday, July 26, 2007 Lib Dem challenge to Labour Council Posted by Chris Abbott: "In view of the adverse publicity in the Evening Gazette and the damage it may have done to the reputation of this Council and its professional officers, Glyn Nightingale and I have written to the Director of Finance and Procurement and the District Auditor to request that a Section 151 report is produced as a matter of urgency and presented to a special meeting of the Council.

The report should outline the current financial pressures, explain the allegations of financial mismanagement made by the Council Leader and set out the details of what exactly the alleged £12m “black hole” amounts to as reported in the Evening Gazette. I am concerned that in one day the reputation of the Council and its professional officers, so patiently built back up over the past seven years, since the days when it produced the second highest Council Tax in the land, has been destroyed.

The silly allegations and misrepresentations made by Leader of the Council simply will not stand up to scrutiny and it is vital that members are provided with the real facts. On Friday 20 July we heard from the Redcar and Cleveland Council leader, that his administration have “a £12m black hole.” By Tuesday 24 July we read in the same paper that a proper Budget for 2007-8 is in place, the previous one had balanced with cash to spare going into reserves and the cash crisis was actually in the future.

Clearly they got elected, by the narrowest of margins, making promises to cut Council Tax and have found that their own Government, with its enforced economies and unfair allocation of grants, have made this impossible, so they invent a cash crisis as a way to deflect the blame when they put the Council Tax up. It has clearly backfired on them, hence the rapid back peddling in the Gazette on Tuesday.

They obviously didn't realise the effect it would have on the reputation of not just the politicians but also on the Council's professional staff who advise them, allowing the nasty smearmongers free rein. The Liberal Democrats election warning that Labour cannot be trusted has been confirmed within weeks of the election. The amazing thing about all this is that £5m of the £12m is the cost of implementing Labour's over the top election promises and nothing at all to do with the Coalition and the past four years.

This year the Labour Government gave £7.1m less than justified by its own assessment of needs. Next year Government financial stringency is likely to put even more pressure on Council finances"....

Note Mr Abbott says "The silly allegations and misrepresentations made by Leader of the Council simply will not stand up to scrutiny and it is vital that members are provided with the real facts" However,Colin Moore himself told Mike Findley and the independents on the day of the count at the Bowl, that the council had a £6,000,000 to £7,000,000 black hole in its budget!
So how can Cllr Abbott claim that they are 'silly misrepresentations' made by the leader of the council when his 'professional' Chief Executive has already admited it himself?

For once though I'll actually agree with Mr Abbott and say well done for high lighting the massive contradiction between the first front page newspaper article that stated everything was in a mess and the second,four days later,that made out everything was ok? I posted on my blog calling it a whitewash.He has admitted as an opposition Cllr, what I and everyone else saw.Now all we have to find out is why Cllr Dunning backtracked so massively?

What this post on Cllr Abbotts blog shows, is that the politicians are trying to use this to score points politically against each other.However,whilst they are doing this,the people who are responsible for this obvious financial mess,the officers,are getting away with it all scot free! They aren't even being mentioned.Once again you have to ask yourself why?

The whole lot are obviously in complete and total disarray and chaos.First you have a chief executive on the day of the count admitting to a black hole in the budget. Absolutely NOTHING is said for over two months then the new leader of the council,after we had been highlighting the black hole in the budget regularly on this site,issues a press release to that effect.Only the black hole is bigger than the Chief Executive had led people to believe.

Labour blame the old coalition the old coalition blame labour,but the ones who are responsible because they have been running the council on delegated powers for the last four years, dont even get mentioned? Four days later,the new leader of the council backtracks massively and tries to make out that everything is ok? Not only does he give the Chief Executive what our source told us he requested at a cabinet meeting, namely to be relieved of his normal council duties in order to try and sort the situation out,the new leader states that instead of trying to find out how they have a defecit of £12,000,000 and launching an investigation,instead they are going to sell off council assets to try and plug the hole! And then once more heaps praise on the culprit and tries to make people believe that we are actually a four star authority.

Two days after that,we have the leader of the Libdems blaming the Labour group for basically conjuring the whole story up and states that there is no black hole at all? But this is after Colin Moore already admitted that the defecit was there on the day of the count and has not once denied it in the press since the story hit the front page of the Gazette last Friday! The leader of the Libdems as with the leader of the Labour group heap undeserved praise on the officers?

Now forgive me for being a tad disbelieving of all of them,but none of this is adding up??? It is obvious that the new council leader has told the truth about the defecit in the story that hit the front page of the Gazette on the 20th of this month. Then 'something' has happened to pull George Dunning back into line or someone has had a 'quiet word' in his ear hence the massive backtracking on Tuesday and Cllr Dunning trying to make out that everything is fine.How you can go from financial ruin to being a four star authority again, within the space of four days, is just beyond me???

Meanwhile you have Cllr Abbott denying,probably because his council were actually supposed to be running the council at the time the defecit appeared,something that the Chief executive hasnt denied,has asked for time off to pursue, and actually admitted to councillors on the day of the count!

The whole lot are just an absolute laughing stock! They are dragging the name of our council and our borough down into the shit.It is obvious that the deficit is there.It is obvious that for some reason, both the old coalition and the new are trying to protect the people who are responsible,the officers, by not starting an immediate independent investigation into the whole affair, by not hauling any of the guilty parties over the coals and by trying to blame each other and score points in a game of political football that is shifting peoples attention from the ones who are responsible and by both actually praising the officers as much as they can when they should be facing some investigation or disciplinary hearing.

The fact is no matter how much Cllrs Dunning and Abbott try in their own ways to blame the other in order to try and smooth things over, and shift the emphasis away from those responsible,the things that they are saying in order to desperately save face and not bring the whole house of cards crashing down, just arent washing with anyone because none of the things that they are now saying add up and the truth is already out there,it has been for some time now and not once has it been denied by the Chief Executive.He cant really when he's already admitted it.

These are desperate measures,in desperate times, being carried out by desperate people and it wont belong before they all start to crack.

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