Monday, 26 April 2010



There was procedural chaos towards the end of last Thursday evenings meeting of Thanet District Council when Cllr Ezekiel's Conservative administration attempted to run roughshod over long established procedures by totally ignoring formal agreements of the council that were both confirmed and minuted, even though the original agreement being ignored had been proposed by Cllr Ezekiel himself.

There was a long pause of several minutes towards the end of Thursday's proceedings whilst the chairman and leading officers did everything they could to find a way through the impasse caused and red faces covered the top bench.

At what should be his last full meeting as leader of the council, Cllr Ezekiel attempted to re-write a formal agreement he and his group had made only two months ago, at his own personal request, to consult all group leaders on possible savings from the Democratic Services department at TDC and instead he dictated that his Conservative group would now simply do their own thing.

Opposition Leader Cllr Clive Hart said "this is absolutely typical of the behaviour we have had to put up with over the past seven years. Even formal and minuted agreements are just torn up by this Conservative administration. How can anyone deal with a group that behaves like this? With this kind of leadership it's no wonder the district is in such a poor state.

Labour members are furious at what happened and I will be contacting the Chief Executive with my serious concerns that actions taken on Thursday evening set a very dangerous precedent indeed for the council and its democratic process.

Under the council's own Procedural Rules 20.0 & 20.1 a motion or amendment to rescind a decision made at a meeting of council within the past six months cannot be moved. This kind of behaviour by the leading Conservative group shows a shocking disregard for the council's constitution and does absolutely nothing to build any kind of consensus".


The agreed amendment in minute 135 (6.3) of the council meeting held on 25th February stated:

"That the options set out in 6.3 of the report for possible reduction of expenditure be formally referred to each group leader for consideration and that a report on the agreed position be submitted to the next meeting of the council".

This minute from the last meeting was further agreed and confirmed by the whole council at the start of Thursday evenings proceedings. However, later on Thursday evening a report was tabled - without prior consultation - headed with the statement:

"The majority group intends to make its own proposals on members allowances for 2010/2011 that will identify the savings envisaged by 20120/11 budget and that members generally will be able to respond to such proposals at the Annual Meeting and/or by making representations to the East Kent Joint Independent Remuneration Panel".



Further to my email of 22/04/2010, I understand Thursday's council meeting was recorded and should therefore be broadcast through the TDC website on the internet.

I would like an assurance that ALL of the long pause (of several minutes) during item 14, where the Chairman and clearly embarrassed leading officers on the top bench had to work extremely hard in an effort to try to find excuses for the ruling Conservative administration's completely contradictory actions, is fully included. This was one break in proceedings that said as much as any of the debate, and hiding it would, in my opinion, seriously distort the visual and audible record of proceedings.

I believe that what happened during Thursday's meeting was significant in exposing the ruling administration's careless disregard for agreements and procedures they have made and should honour, and I am therefore copying this correspondence to the press. On the night I very reasonably called for the item to be withdrawn but my request was totally ignored. I would prefer that we discussed these matters in an orderly manner in the chamber, but if we are to be completely ignored then I feel I have no alternative but to let the public know just how this council is being run.

Thanet District Council is not a dictatorship and we should not allow this administration to behave like one!



Cllr Clive Hart - Leader of the Opposition.

----- Original Message -----
From: Clive Hart
To: Richard Samuel
Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2010 10:52 PM
Subject: ITEM 14 - COUNCIL MEETING 22/04/2010

ITEM 14 - COUNCIL MEETING 22/04/2010

At tonight's council meeting a formal and minuted agreement was simply 'torn up' and completely ignored by the council's own administration.

Labour members are furious at what happened and we have serious concerns that actions taken this evening have set a very dangerous precedent indeed for the council and its democratic process in the future.

Under the council's own Procedural Rules 20.0 & 20.1 a motion or amendment to rescind a decision made at a meeting of council within the past six months cannot be moved.

This kind of behaviour by the leading group shows a shocking disregard for the council's constitution and does absolutely nothing to build any kind of consensus.

Our members were further shocked to see leading officers actually working very hard to excuse such behaviour.



(Cllr Clive Hart - Leader of the Opposition).


Sent: Monday, April 26, 2010 8:37 AM
Cllr Bayford

I was extremely disappointed that you chose to try and make me look unreasonable in my actions regarding Item 14 at last Thursday's council meeting and that the Chairman would not allow me to respond to put matters straight.

The fact is, that when we originally spoke on the phone regarding this item a week or so prior to the meeting, you said you intended to move 'that the whole matter simply be deferred to next year' and you asked me to second that proposal. I said - yes - of course - happy to.

However, shortly after that phone conversation, a written report arrived at my home (through our council post) proposing something absolutely and completely different to that which you asked me to second. I phoned you immediately and politely explained that as you had now completely 'moved the goalposts', I most certainly would not be able to second what was now being proposed. Furthermore, I also explained that the written report was absolutely nothing like the procedure agreed at the previous meeting of the council.

Last Thursday evening I then explained to full council that at the previous meeting Cllr Ezekiel had proposed something completely different to that proposed in the written report and that under our own council rules the new written report should therefore have been withdrawn immediately. I also pointed to the minute of the previous meeting which we had all agreed just an hour earlier that confirmed the original agreement.

So there you have it Cllr Bayford, my actions were all completely above board and honourable. It certainly was not me who changed his mind or ignored formal agreements made earlier, and I took great exception to you in any way suggesting it was. As you made those remarks in front of the press and public and the Chairman would not allowed me to respond to protect my good name I will be copying this correspondence to the press.

I hereby request that you now do the honourable thing and return to the procedure originally proposed by Cllr Ezekiel and agreed at February's council meeting and unanimously confirmed in Thursday's minutes of that meeting.

I would then like to put this whole sorry episode behind us and try once more to have the improved working relationship we both spoke of when I originally phoned you to congratulate you most sincerely on becoming leader elect.


Cllr Clive Hart

1 comment:

  1. Dear old Clive should grow up and accept that he lost the argument, and move on to the next battle (perhaps he should talk to Cllr Harrison about how to be a real politician?)


Please note comments that may be libellous, comments that may be construed as offensive and anonymous derogatory comments about real people will be deleted. Also note the facility to leave anonymous comment will be turned of during periods when I am unable to monitor comment, this will not affect people commenting who are signed on to their blogger accounts.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.