Rotten Island

It’s official, our council is rubbish!

A watchdog wants the Welsh Assembly Government to step in urgently to bring in a major shake-up at a council. The Auditor General said Anglesey council has “serious persistent problems” which affect its working. “Personality politics” based on mistrust and suspicion were partly to blame, while problems existed with both officials and political arrangements. The council said it accepts the findings of the report and all seven recommendations for improvement.

“Serious, persistent problems at the Isle of Anglesey council urgently need addressing now if it is to restore its reputation, win back public trust and set a positive course for the future,” said Auditor General, Jeremy Colman. He said the council’s “history” meant he was convinced the changes that were needed would not happen unless there was outside input. “That is why I am calling on assembly government ministers to intervene and to provide the necessary external support and challenge that Anglesey council needs to help place it onto a firmer, more successful, footing,” he said.

In his report Mr Colman said even though there are good features in performance of many services there are internal issues. These include weak self-regulation, inappropriate behaviour and conflict. The report said all these issues had been left largely unaddressed since the council was established in 1996 – despite a number of previous external reviews. Mr Colman goes on to say there is a history of “personality politics” based around mistrust, suspicion and personal animosity.

This is not news to anyone who lives here, but maybe… maybe the self interested cabal who use our money to pursue their and developer’s interest will finally be exposed. Central government is cutting spending so we need councillors fighting for us.

44 Responses to “Rotten Island”

  1. earwicga Says:

    The only way of solving Anglesey council corruption is to abolish it and put the county back under Gwynedd’s council. The amount the council members and it’s cronies have creamed off in the last ten years would more than cover the cost of the schools they are threatening with closure for the next ten years. Rotten to the core!

  2. RickB Says:

    I know what you mean but I think having power more locally and direct in theory should make it more democratic and accountable, though of course this has proven not to be the case here. I think I would like an Anglesey council but yes it absolutely needs a house clean and will need outside actors and I would suggest some prosecutions maybe (unlikely though, the political class are loathe to have their criminality exposed). This report should have named names and what they have been doing.
    Still looks to be some heads will roll-

  3. earwicga Says:

    That’s a distraction. Can’t believe the wording such as “Changes could affect local ties, for example you could marry up a ward from Menai Bridge with one from Llanfairpwll, but how would that affect the traditional ties? They need to be very careful.” These places are within spitting distance from each other for gods sake! And how much are we paying for all this crap which will never change the culture of the old boys club in charge of making money for theirselves while slashing services??

  4. earwicga Says:

    And this one made me LOL:
    “Cllr Rhian Medi said: “Who are the members of the Commission? Who appoints them and who are they to set timescales for us to debate something so important? “How do they have the right to sit and make decisions that affect Anglesey?”
    Small minded to say the least as this crap has been going on since their inception. Wonder what Rhian Medi or her family is involved with on Anglesey?

    • earwicga Says:

      Just looked her up and she represents Llangefni which is one the most insular parts of Anglesey. What a surprise 🙂

  5. RickB Says:

    Surely it’s a councillors job to know who the commission is and their constitutional bona fides???? Unless she is auditioning for a job in a mobile phone shop.

    • earwicga Says:

      Not in Anglesey – their purpose is to ‘sell’ contracts and ‘give’ planning permission to friends and family.

  6. SIR FON Says:

    ACT NOW —- Close the council as it is and run it from the assembly if need be for the interim.
    BP and his cronies have to go.
    Forget ever getting a grant for anything unless you are family or the family of an ex member.
    As for the school closures – they would not be going ahead apart from PF jumping in in the eleventh hour to save his local school with less than 10 pupils!!!
    But hey he’s gone now (sick!!)
    Also a strange fact is the man in charge of the closures GE will have been given his GOLDEN handshake before the results are published!! so who do we complain to??
    Mr Coleman, you should have been more foreceful and stopped this bunch of funny handshakes in their tracks.
    There is only ONE way to sort this council out. insert Peter Rogers as leader, then watch the weasles run.
    Could the last one on Anglesey please put out the lights.

  7. earwicga Says:

    Peter Rogers would certainly knock heads together, as he has demonstrated literally in the past, but I very much doubt he would be able to run the council which takes a little more than mouth and muscle.

    I definately agree with you that the council should be closed down – 3-6 months to process a HB claim is immoral and should also be illegal!

  8. RickB Says:

    They are stepping in-

    Local government minister Dr Brian Gibbons told assembly members he welcomed the report but very much regretted its findings, saying it was “unprecedented” in the nature of its criticism of the council.
    He promised intervention action.
    Dr Gibbons said: “The prospects for delivering improved services for the future are far from positive particularly in the challenging financial times we have ahead of us and the particular challenges that the island of Anglesey faces.”
    He continued: “Without a major change there is a real possibility of a drop in standards and at worst, service failures.
    “The Auditor General recognises that this position is unsustainable and has recommended that the Assembly Government uses its statutory powers to intervene in the running of the Council. l agree and will do so.”

  9. celticlion Says:

    Sorry but I think you will find it is similar in many other places. Please don’t expect any magic wands.

    It’s very often not a case of what’s been going on but the connections and ability to conceal what’s been going on.

  10. RickB Says:

    True enough, and they are fighting back being brought to account already

    Tonight, Local Government Minister Brian Gibbons announced he would intervene in response to the recommendations – the first time an entire council has been subject to the extraordinary measures given to ministers under section 15 of the Local Government Act 1999. He did not, however, state the exact nature of the intervention – prompting immediate criticism from the council’s deputy leader, who said he could not accept outsiders being directly parachuted in to run the authority.

    And Owen called for an elected mayor! (sensing a chance for the job when he loses in the general?)

    • earwicga Says:

      Nice one Owen – eye to the main chance 🙂

      The council’s deputy leader is having a laugh isn’t he with words such as “The indications are that it could be an arm’s length operation which we would welcome. If it was a full intervention, we would not welcome that as we would just be coming here to rubberstamp decisions made by people from outside the county.”? Can’t tell he is a Plaid politician can you?!? It better be a bloody full intervention or there’s no point.

      • SIR FON Says:

        Yes they’d welcome arms length, its the best they could hope for and still a chance to use their smoke and mirrors.

  11. SIR FON Says:

    No magic wand needed.
    A clean slate is whats needed and has been for over 10 years.
    remember the JAJ fiasco! he even came back like a bloody boomerang!
    And please no!! imagine the buffonery of AO as Mayor.
    I’d prefer Boris!!!!!

    • earwicga Says:

      And this brilliant quote ” If you put a managing director with a bit of oomph and guts in he would be able to bang heads together” Because of course it has to me a man and of course it has to be agressive.

      • SIR FON Says:

        Agressive! yep, anyone remember the “interview” with JAJ on TV, where all he could muster from his tiny brain cell count was asking the interviewer “are you a peadohpille”
        This was from the former head of housing! classic!

        • RickB Says:

          Oh yes, the wit and wisdom of a Sun leader column he showed there.

        • earwicga Says:

          I don’t remember that but that particular department should all be fired tonight. I would happily phone them and tell them the happy news right now!

        • SIR FON Says:

          I wish I could dig that out of a BBC archive and youtube it. It would get some serious hits 🙂

    • earwicga Says:

      Ah, that’s just plain mean. Owen could do with the big red coat and costume to keep warm on his little walks around the island.

  12. RickB Says:

    Yep, Mayor is a con job to avoid real change, we don’t need more officials on the make. Maybe some form of recall election together with some searching investigations.

  13. RickB Says:

    If anyone is interested in working on a group blog of Island politics/life let me know. This might be a tipping point for getting some real democracy going.

    • SIR FON Says:

      An online petition would be good. get some serious numbers to sign the buggers out.
      What get my goat are that they are so blind by infighting and getting what they can they have long since lost the boat on any help for Anglesey. Tinto closing (near enough) in September. Wylfa not far after and the old MEM this summer. Over a thousand jobs gone, nothing else to replace them. All serious emapyment then gone from the Island. The writing should have been on the wall for them years ago with the closure of Octel and Peboc.
      Anglesey has been deemed worse off econmically than the poorer parts of Poland!! and thats from the Telegrph, were not taking Sun column inches!!

  14. SIR FON Says:

    On another note, what would Week in Week out do to fill its 25% of programmes it must dedicate to Anglesey Council wrongdoings ????????

    • RickB Says:

      Albert Owen’s Dullness Corner? With special guest…some corduroy.

      • SIR FON Says:

        Remember Keith Best?
        He might have had some shortcomings but he was the last MP to do anything for Anglesey.
        IWJ just used it as a springboard to the AM and assembly.
        And he well and truly seems to have forgotten he represents us.

    • earwicga Says:

      Perhaps they could have footage of Angelsey dole queues and have Welsh substitutes for Trinny and Susanna commentating on who needs help?

  15. RickB Says:

    Before my time here, although as tories go he was bearable I recall.

  16. SIR FON Says:

    “An extraordinary meeting of the Full Council will be held at 10.00am on Monday, July 20th 2009 to discuss the contents of the report, to consider its recommendations and agree the way forward.”

    Where it will be decided who holds up the rug and who sweeps the s**t underneath it.

  17. RickB Says:

    I wonder if they’ll let bloggers in…

  18. celticlion Says:

    have been thinking about your situation, especially if you are not familiar with such meetings.

    It is a shame that the meeting is so close. This would have given you time to attend another meeting and got the ethos of how they work first.

    Going to such meetings means you are the stranger in a strange land.

    If you get the chance to ask questions and decide to ask one. Careful. What you think is a acceptable reasonable question, in their culture could be seen as provocative. You do not know the rules. eg go to Saudi and inquire if there was anywhere you could get a beer. It is not the question it is the context and culture.

    You may ask a question to the panel etc. But then watch out for the broadside. You are expecting an answer in debate from who you have asked the question to.

    Some one from the audience then attacks you. “I don’t that sort of attitude helps…”

    Where did that come from. Remember there are councillors, council officers in the audience. You have been slipped a decoy. Do you try and get an answer for you original question or do you challenge the ‘member of the audience’.

    Your work load has doubled and still no closer. Try to challenge the member of the audience and before you know it. “Unruly protesters ejected from council meeting”. Is the headline-how did that happen?

    Remember if you ask a question you may get a direct answer. But it is a complete and total lie. Confused at the rubbish you have been told you may disagree. Then the chair will intervene. “I think you question has been answered satisfactorily, we need to move on”. You say “no it hasn’t”. I refer you back to the ‘unruly protested’.

    No matter how polite, intelligent, good with words you are. You are going into a rehearsed controlled situation, you are the stranger in the strange land. They tend to get stoned by the inhabitants.

    Have fun!

  19. RickB Says:

    Well so far no response, which I’m not that surprised about.

    • earwicga Says:

      You will NEVER receive an email back from the council. I would bet money on the fact that their system is set up so all mail that is not a council address goes straight to the recycle bin.

  20. RickB Says:

    Recycle bin- ah yes, windows users!

  21. RickB Says:

    Ah no, just windows. Until there is some parity from other OS’s windows deserves taking down a notch or two! (admittedly typed on OSX Leopard!)

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