Further accusations from Cllrs Gilbey and Priest in County Hall drama

Following the sacking of Cllr Richard Priest from the Isle of Wight council Executive this week and Cllr Jon Gilbey’s subsequent claims of being dismissed from the Independent Group (a claim refuted by the leader yesterday), there is a further twist in the story today.

Keyboard close up by ericnvntr

This lunchtime, Cllr Jon Gilbey has circulated a string of emails to all councillors.

The emails contain claims that a paper for last Tuesday’s Executive meeting (embedded at the bottom of this article) was tampered with by other members without the consent of Cllr Jon Gilbey (the lead Executive member for Finance and PFI).

For the avoidance of any doubt and to ensure no misinterpretation, we’ve included the unedited string of emails below.

It’s of note that Davina Fiore, the Monitoring Officer at Isle of Wight council stated in Tuesday’s meeting that she’d advised Cllrs Priest and Gilbey that they were unable to vote on the paper in dispute as they had declared an interest in one of the items (Rush Close).

The emails

From: Gilbey, Jonathan
Sent: 12 September 2014 12:48
To: All Members
Cc: Fiore, Davina
Subject: Capital contingency fund report.

Colleagues

We had hoped not to need to provide further clarification to the statement we jointly made yesterday, unfortunately, due to statements made by fellow councillors and through the media, we feel obliged to confirm:

1/ The Leader dismissed us both from the Group and the Executive at 4pm on Wednesday 10th September 2014;

2/ The attached email of 29th August 2014, regarding the Capital Contingency Fund Report, clearly sets out why we did not take part in the debate at the Executive Meeting on this item, and why we recognised that ‘removal from the group’ could be a consequence of the position we had been put in by others;

3/ If the Leader truly believed that members of his Group were involved in a ‘coup’ he should have, following an open and transparent process, dismissed all those he thought involved rather than justify a decision by ‘reshuffling the Executive’; and

4/ We will be supporting Cllr Blezzard’s call-in of the Capital Contingency Report and, subject to guidance from the Monitoring Officer, volunteer to give evidence to the Scrutiny Committee.

We both deeply regret our colleagues and the IW Council being placed this situation and have, as can be seen from the attached email, sought to avoid this happening.

Many thanks again for the messages of support from colleagues, and the offers of accommodation and seating in advance of the next meeting of the Full Council where, to be clear, as a result of the decision of the Leader to dismiss us from the Group, we will not be sitting with the Group.

Regards

Jon and Richard

——Original Message——
From: Richard Priest
To: Chapman, Charles
To: Richards, Colin
To: Kendall, Gordon
To: Ian STEPHENS
To: Warlow, Ivor
To: Howe, John
To: John MEDLAND
To: Bacon, Jonathan
To: Gilbey, Jonathan
To: Baker-Smith, Julia
To: Peacey-Wilcox, Lora
To: Hillard, Luisa
To: Fuller, Paul
To: Phil JORDAN
To: Blezzard, Bob
To: Downer, Rodney
To: WhitbySmith, Roger
To: Shirley SMART
To: Stubbings, Stephen
To: Richard Priest
Subject: Capital Contingency fund
Sent: 29 Aug 2014 20:26

Colleagues

Further to recent correspondence regarding the Capital Contingency Fund Report, Jon and I have asked Ian, as Leader, to circulate the following email to all members of the Group, given the position that we have been put in – we can appreciate that Ian has felt unable to do so and we believe, to protect all members of the group, that all members should be aware of the situation.

Again, Jon and I feel that we have been placed in a situation not of our making, and that all members have a right to be fully informed of the situation, and be fully briefed ( as we have repeatedly requested).

Regards

Richard and Jon

From: Richard Priest
Sent: 29 August 2014 07:46
To: Stephens, Ian (County Councillor)
Cc: Gilbey, Jonathan; Priest, Richard
Subject: Capital Contingency fund

Ian

Please circulate to all members of our group.

Regards

Richard

Colleagues

Apologies for a further email.

We understand that, despite our wish for all members of the Group to be appraised of the position that we have been placed in, as regards this matter, and that all members to have had the appropriate briefing from Stuart Fraser and from legal services (because of the serious implications we have highlighted) : we now understand that the Capital Contingency Fund paper is to remain on the Agenda for the next meeting of the Executive, despite our suggestion of a pause and an opportunity to reflect on what has happened, how it happened and how to avoid it happening again in the future.

Please note that had the original paper had remained unamended, as Jon as Author approved it, then we would not be in this position – to allay any allegations of ‘parochialism’ the paper would have recognised that Shanklin Lift and The Embankment are potential liabilities (and they are and have been for some time), and that Cowes Enterprise College (something we collectively inherited) is also a liability, but given other factors they would not have been priorities – to remove them from the paper in the manner it was done is not right, in our view, and could have been avoided, and our suggested ‘breathing space’ a reasonable way forward.

Because of the decisions taken by others, we have been put in a position that we will not be able to support the paper being presented (even though we would have supported the original version), and although (because of our commitment to the group) we will not be voting against it, we will not participate in the vote and be absolutely open and transparent in why we will not be voting, because versions of the paper were amended without the authority of the author (and without the knowledge – not the approval, as that would also be wrong – of the Ward member for 2 items and portfolio holder for the third item), and by doing so placed the integrity of the Administration and this Council at risk. NB Had our proposal for a ‘breathing space’ been supported and the appropriate briefing provided, all members would have been able to have taken an informed view as to whether our wish to protect colleagues was justified or not.

We were both voted in to be open and transparent, and act in accordance with the Bell Principles, and we believe we have remained true to this – and we are both comfortable to be held to account for the position we have taken, as I am sure those that have put us in this position will also be comfortable doing.

We both recognise that the Group may wish to remove us from the Executive for the position we have taken, and in doing so remove us from the group: we respect this and would trust that colleagues will be open and transparent in this process, and that any procedure followed will also be open and transparent.

We would again apologise to all colleagues for the position we have been placed in regarding this matter, and although we have tried to suggest a ‘breathing space’ so that all members of the Group can be informed regarding what has happened, it appears from emails that a paper is going forward despite the concerns we have raised.

We have sent this to Ian, in the first instance, as Leader of the Group and have asked him to circulate to all members of the group – as we believe this is in accord with the principles we originally signed up to.

Best regards

Jon and Richard

The paper in question

PAPER H

Image: ericnvntr under a CC BY 2.0 license

Friday, 12th September, 2014 4:43pm

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2cir

Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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122 Comments on "Further accusations from Cllrs Gilbey and Priest in County Hall drama"

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tryme

I wonder if they talked face to face with their Leader before resorting to emails, which are rarely effective means to resolve differences. Let alone letting them loose for general perusal.

DH

Could someone please abolish the Isle of Wight Council and integrate the Island as part of the Hampshire Council instead? This whole debacle looks like a primary school playground argument over who’s football it is.

I hope Cllr Glibly (sic) enjoys his current stint as a councillor. It will probably be his last by the time the next election comes round.

Cynic

Do you mean hand over the Island to yet another Tory dominated council, DH?

derek

Richard Priest and Jon Gilby can not let down their ward voters by going Tory and Ian Stephens likes being Council Leader that is the big problem now.

derek

Is there any other Stalking Horses?

derek

Who would be hiding behind the Stalking Horse?If this was a coup?

Cynic

Follow the trail of paper clips? :-))

derek

Is it someone thinking a few moves ahead?

tryme

I’ve for a while been struck by our not having heard from his holiness Cllr Windy Whitehouse for some time here, and how uncharacteristic this is. I thought maybe our reponses to him were discouraging (at last), but maybe he was busy, very busy, plotting!

derek

Is Stephens running scared?

Doctor Doctor

Ian Stephens seems to have developed a real fondness for the role.

Locally, this is known as Pugh syndrome – the office holder becoming firmly convinced that only he alone can run the council because he knows best about everything, despite all evidence pointing to a rapidly deteriorating shambles across the council’s services.

Sadly, their is no known cure.

Barney McGrew
Who has been deafening in their silence? Who is it that REALLY wants to be leader? Who is it that has been manipulating the weak and vacillating Ian? Who has been priming his “bosom buddy” to blog on here when normally you can’t get him to shut up? C’mon Cllr. Stubbings – put your head above the parapet! We really need to hear from you the part… Read more »
tryme
The attitude on here seems to be that if you cast enough insults in Cllr Stephen’s direction, eventually people will believe them. There are plenty of Tories posting, no doubt, who are talking of ‘shambles’ snd ‘weakness’, (no evidence of course), till it becomes (they hope) the unquestioned background of assumptions. No macho leadership please. I prefer someone who listens to opinions, challenges them, is careful, and… Read more »
Robbo
Isn’t that what happens with every leader of the Isle of Wight Council? Morris Barton, Marc Morgan-Huws, Shirley Smart, Andy Sutton, David Pugh, Ian Stephens….Who would want a job where you are subject to such vitriol, particularly these days of an anonymous, cowardly type via blogs like this. Where are the days of the open letters attacking Morris in the pages of the County Press? The days… Read more »
Victor Meldrew

I’m afraid those days went when councillors forgot how to behave like gentlemen.

I have modest business dealings with the council and have had first hand experience of the small minded vindictive disingenuous manner that they lash out at ANY criticism and punish those that dare excercise their right to free speech.
The only way to protect oneself is anonymity. Regrettable but true, I’m afraid

Robbo

I don’t accept that. I have never met the people in question bar one, but I cannot believe that even if they are as you describe (which I doubt is true in all cases – Shirley Smart?) you should stoop to that level as well.

Mark Francis

You mean “Victor Meldrew” is not your real name?
I am shocked. Shocked.

tryme

You mean you don’t believe it.

Mark Francis

You might think that, but I could not possibly comment.

Robert Jones
So now we know what document was changed; it is less than clear why it was changed, other than that the change presumably gives a slightly (though not very) rosier view of the council’s finances. It also appears that because Cllrs Priest and Gilbey had an interest in one of the liabilities listed in that report, they were prevented from voting on the report as a whole… Read more »
tryme

Perhaps the experience of Hamlet’s father, the poison dripped in his ear, has something to do with it …

Robert Jones

Not hard to work out whom you might mean by that! You may be right – it’s disappointing to me personally if you are, because I expected better of those concerned (bar one, obviously …).

wightwonders
From the above, the items in question are ‘the embankment’ and the shanklin lift. Gilbey claims his report was made public and put before executive without his approval. Was the monitoring officer aware of this in the emails of 29 august? Surely Gilbey/Priest made this officer aware, as they did for their conflict of interest. Yet the report was issued. Why did monitoring officer allow this? What… Read more »
Grangebeg
I saw Richard Priest today in Shanklin and asked him why he and Cllr Gilbey were doing business via e-mail as, knowing him as I do, he normally prefers face to face concilliatry meetings not open warfare. He said that he had meetings with Ian Stevens at which he had said what he needed to say but was not taken notice of and he felt that he… Read more »
steve s
Cllr Priest was removed from the executive of the Isle of Wight Council for plotting to overthrow the democratically elected leader. He did not mount a leadership challenge within the Independent Group, as would be normal practice. He does not enjoy the support amongst the membership for such a challenge to have been successful. He would have required significant support from the largest minority group in order… Read more »
matt

steve s, Do you enjoy the support of the membership?

steve s
Matt I have no interest in being leader of the Independent Group or of the Isle of Wight Council. As far as I’m aware, I enjoy the support of the membership as Deputy, but, in the current climate, it would be difficult to be sure of much. The saddest thing about this whole sorry episode is that it does nothing to address the significant problems we face… Read more »
matt

I did not say,Leader.

Barney McGrew
So! Mr. Stubbings, sorry Cllr. Stubbings, finally breaks his self-imposed silence with a quote straight from Yes Minister. “If asked if he wants to be Prime Minister, the generally acceptable answer for a politician is that while he does not seek the office, he has pledged himself to the service of his country, and that should his colleagues persuade him that that is the best way he… Read more »
Stewart Blackmore

Steve, you say you have ‘no interest’ in being Leader, but that is not the same as ruling yourself out.

If, for example, you stated publicly that ‘If asked to put myself forward for the Leadership of the Independent Group, I would refuse to do so.’, that would be a very clear and unambiguous statement.

Are you willing to make that statement?

eh?
Why would he do that? Why would anyone rule out anything, whether in politics or not? No-one knows what will happen in the future. But then, of course, it looks good politically for you to try and get a ‘straight answer’ out of Steve doesnt it… If he refuses to answer, it becomes a problem for him. If he does answer, it becomes a problem for him.… Read more »
tryme

Totally agree with you, ‘eh?’ !
I get so tired of radio and TV interviews that ask this sort of paint-you-in-a-corner question which is designed (in my experience) only to make the interviewer seem like they have carried out a terrific wheeze, (hello J.Paxman).

Not to say that Stewart hasn’t got a more profound basis for it though: perhaps he will say.

derek

So they are using this smokescreen,which you were a part of (I have appologised to Cllr Gilbey etc)?Is that right?

phil jordan
Derek: This part of the tale turns on the marked difference between *Draft* and *final* versions of a paper. Be mindful, in addition, that the paper contains an item for which Cllr Priest & Cllr Gilbey have ‘subsequently’ declared an interest. (herein lies an issue in itself: since both were involved in some discussions and persuasion to change the minds of fellow Councillors, including myself, over the… Read more »
Robert Jones

The clearest explanation yet, I think; and thank you for it. I remain surprised by Cllr Stubbings’ suggestion that Richard Priest was plotting against the leader with a view to removing him: that is not the man I thought I knew.

davimel
Thank you Phil, a very concise explanation and one that should satisfy all but the hardened ‘council knockers’… It’s a shame that a couple of elected Independent Councillors have chosen to show such disrespect to their Wards and to the Council but what would the Island be without the occasional Turncoat? I would trust that their Wards are intelligent enough to see through any smokescreens they throw… Read more »
RydeDude

Crikey Phil, who drafted this for you?
PS – I see your proposer for the Ryde by-election, from which you have now withdrawn, has launched an attack on the candidate you had pomoted..
What is happening on the Island?

Black Dog

Disingenuous as ever.

retired Hack

It’s only disingenuous to someone determined to find disingenuity in anything Phil or any other member of the current administrations says. Phil is patient and clear. He’s done a lot to explain what’s actually going on here.

Robbo

Well said, Mike

retired Hack

Who’s Mike?

Robbo

If this Capital Contingency paper was so important to them, WHY didn’t they attend the meeting ? Surely a meeting like that should be mandatory for someone being a serious councillor ?

phil jordan

Robbo:

Thanks. See my post above.

You are absolutely correct. The attendance at executive meetings *should* be mandatory and obligatory for all Executives.

Had they attended, this would not have happened in the way it subsequently did.

Robbo

Thank you Cllr Jordan. Courteous as ever

Robbo

Just a thought. Were they usually at these regular, diarised meetings?

Cynic

What is the legal status of a report to the Council if it is not approved and signed by a report/recommendation to the Council if not approved and signed by the Executive councillor with responsibility for that portfolio?

phil jordan

Cicero:

Good point!

Astute as ever….

Cllr Gilbey refused to put his name to this paper which prompted the Leader to bring it to Executive in his name.

Without taking (internal)legal advice I would assume that the paper must carry an *Executives* name….

Cynic

Does the Leader have the authority to override the portfolio’s Executive in this way or is it “ultra vires” his role as defined by the IWC Constitution?

(I wonder what Ms. Fiore’s view is!)

Cynic
“*Before the report is published it must be (other than in cases of true urgency) considered by the council’s internal process (details of this are available from democratic services) – this ensures that all strategic, corporate, legal, financial, risk and other matters have been fully taken into account.” [IWC Constitution pg. 172 Member level decisions] Did this final vet take place to ensure that “all strategic, corporate,… Read more »
The Sciolist

That’s quite an accusation Steve.

When did the kangaroo court sit in judgement?

Who was the judge, did you have a jury?

phil jordan

Sciolist:

The Leader has the power to appoint or remove Executives at his discretion.
He needs no consultation in any Constitutional way.

Cynic

The danger of having overall “Hire & Fire” powers does not necessarily also provide overrides to democratic processes, as defined by the IWC Constitution, does it?

(If so, the history of national politics from Ancient Greece to the present day indicates “that way lies tyranny”. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” attr. to Thomas Jefferson and Wendell Phillips (1852) among others.)

Cynic

Be very wary! While this squabbling in the Independent henhouse is happening, ravenous Tory foxes are patrolling outside it, ready to take advantage of the diversion to run in and cause even more mayhem.

tryme
I’m not clear about what we have been told has happened. Other people here may be able to enlighten me. Did Cllrs Priest and Gilbey boycott the meeting to which they were invited? Was that because they knew changes to the document in question were to be discussed, and chose this way to protest? If not, why didn’t they attend when they knew what the meeting was… Read more »
Robbo

All good questions that I am sure you will not get a response to from the said gentlemen. The more this opens up the more we see naked self-interest revealed. And now they just want to create more damage, rather than support their group in dealing with the Island’s problems.

tryme

I was evidently composing this while Phil Jordan was posting, and a quick first look indicates he is dealing with these points.

phil jordan

Tryme:

I wouldn’t wish to use the word “boycott” ….they just did not attend the regular Tuesday meeting and for which they had been asked to attend and for which they were told we would be discussing this Capital Contingency Paper.

At this point, there was no “contention” or reason to object or protest. This was the meeting that now appears to have instigated all further problems.

tryme
Thanks Phil. Your substantive post this morning makes a lot more sense of things. I’m left wondering why the attempted coup took place and whether it was a rather extreme way of trying to leapfrog the fact that a conflict of interest had not been declared at the start – always a serious matter in a reputable organisation, and putting Cllrs Priest and Gilbey in a very… Read more »
derek

Phil, To organise a coup, you have got to go round members and ask them who they are going to support.Have you got evidence of this?

phil jordan

derek:

Yes.

derek

If the evidence stands up to be right,what more can you say.

phil jordan
Tryme: I cannot be sure what drove that aspiration. It may have been a combination of things…I don’t know. I do *know* it happened however. I am sad over all of this. I am trying not to be critical of both Councillors with whom I have worked for over 15 months and with whom I had hoped there may have been some sort of understanding and friendship… Read more »
tryme

Yes Phil, it does point to personal flaws in the two concerned.

Such is corporate life, very often. This need not be viewed as a particularly big deal, whatever the pulicity, and I hope the majority Indies will continue to demonstrate their higher values, steady the ship and carry on regardless.

Alison Hayden.
How very sad that the hopes of Island voters and their belief, that for many years we would see our Island taken care of. We were just beginning to see real changes for the better. Last May, was historic and we were all riding on “the crest of a wave.” I myself was newly elected as a Parish Councillor and found it quite overwhelming that many elected… Read more »
sam salt
How sad it is to see grown men acting like schoolboys in the playground and being fuelled by some on here with their views. There are always two sides to every story and quite frankly I do not care what the truth is. What I do care about is how the Isle of Wight Council is being viewed by others for their silly squabbles and tit for… Read more »
tryme
I think the truth DOES matter on serious issues like not declaring conflicts of interest and illegitimate attempts to overthrow elected reps., Tess. Yes, this can be investigated and dealt with internally, but once it is made public (by Messrs Priest and Gilbey), matters can be twisted in so many ways that affect important matters like an administration carrying on effectively, and voting at the next election,… Read more »
sam salt
@Tryme you seem to have acted already as “judge and jury” in this case. This is the danger of the matter being debated on here and by two serving councillors (Stubbings and Jordan) putting their account of the story through this medium. The matter has been referred to the Monitoring Officer, (who also seems to be involved), for investigation. I understand under new rules this investigation will… Read more »
tryme
Have another look at your 10.40am post, Tess, and see which of us sounds more like ‘judge and jury’! A case of ‘your post is judge and jury, my post is considered opinion’, perhaps! You sound angry about it, but this is a forum where we talk and discuss and give our opinions, even before official reports are published, (if ever), shock horror! As it happens I… Read more »
retired Hack
The revelation that Cllr Gilbey has made himself unavailable for meetings at 8.30am will come as little surprise in Niton and Whitwell, where the parish council made a fruitless attempt back in early July to get him to come and listen to concerns around the Undercliff closure. He made it explicity clear that pretty much his every waking hour was accounted for, partly by his Shanklin duties,… Read more »
Cynic

LOL!

tryme

Oh dear!

Mark Francis

It’s just like Game of Thrones over there in Newport innit?
(But without the slightly annoying dragons)

Anybody else not actually following this either?

Cynic

I gave up watching GoT as soon as the first dragon appeared and made the whole thing unbelievable.

Maybe a similar dragon will appear in County Hall with a concomitant effect?

Black Dog
Seems to me like councillors Jordan and Stubbings are continuing to stoke the fire. I would like to know who was actually present when councillor Stevens allegedly sacked councillors Priest and Gilbey? All those councillors who were not there cannot make informed comment on the matter. I am assuming by the tone and content of your postings that you councillors Stubbings and Jordan were witness to the… Read more »
retired Hack
Next week’s Full Council could well be interesting, but I have it on good authority that, if there is to be a vote of no confidence in Ian Stephens as Leader, it won’t come from the Conservative leadership. The view being taken is that the Tories don’t have a mandate from the electorate to do that. That being said, it’s unclear whether that’s a universal view on… Read more »
Geoff Lumley

No motion of ‘no confidence’ has been tabled. All motions for Wednesday have to be in well before now. Its a red herring.

retired Hack

Am I right, Geoff, that a motion of no confidence could be moved without notice if, first, a procedural motion were passed to suspend the rule which requires notice to be given?

Geoff Lumley

Possibly. Anyone proposing such a route would need to take constitutional advice from the Monitoring Officer. Personally I would oppose such a route as it is circumventing agreed standing orders, which I would hope the Chair would rule out of order. Then we could all have a vote of no confidence in the Chair and make it all even more ridiculous than it already is.

steve s
If the Councillors had been expelled from the Independent group they would have had their access to the group room rescinded. This has not happened. It’s often possible to make informed comment on a matter without actually being present at the time the event took place. As to ‘stoking the fire’, I thought long and hard before entering this discussion because I recognised the potential for harm.… Read more »
tryme

For clarity, Cllr Stubbing’s comment here appears to be in response to Black Dog’s yesterday at 2.27pm.

Black Dog
Can’t help yourself can you councillor Stubbings. So you were not present at the time of the alleged sacking. Why is it you come on here trying to convince others of the facts according to Steve Stubbings? As for the informed comment remark I would describe that as spin. I reconise BS when I come across it. This also leads me to think that the level of… Read more »
steve s
Black Dog I sincerely hope that this helps to clarify the situation for you: If somebody leaves (or, presumably, is expelled from a group) the ability for them to gain entry to the group room is removed immediately. Officers are very particular about this. The monitoring officer asked me if Cllrs Priest and Gilbey had been removed from the Independent Group in order that she might facilitate… Read more »
Black Dog

Like a true politician answer a question that has not been asked.

In my opinion it would be a waste of a telephone call as the order of the day is “This is the answer, what was the question?”

phil jordan
Black dog: I, along with other executives, spoke with the Leader immediately after the two Councillors left his office. The Leader briefed us immediately on exactly what he had said and done. In detail. Cllr Stubbings is not alone in understanding the “facts” of this matter. Your dogged attempt to diminish this clarity is misplaced. Cllr Stubbings has expressed other *evidence* that the two have not been… Read more »
eh?

I wouldnt bother Phil.

Black Dog seems to only come on here when he fancies an argument.
You wont convince him even if you provide DNA evidence.

Black Dog
I did wonder how long it would be before the double act came together to defend the un defendable. I have no reason to doubt that the leader may have briefed other members of the executive committee. I do object to you and Mr Stubbings trying to justify what went on behind closed doors. Although you and Mr Stubbings haven’t said as much but it does sound… Read more »
tryme
I agree with you ‘eh?’, that Black Dog has a slash and burn policy aimed at disseminating as appalling a picture as possible of the Indies. (I also suspect they know who he is – do tell!). He seems a lost cause. I would urge them to continue reponding to such destructive comments, however, as the drip drip of these can affect readers. I’m glad Phil and… Read more »
Black Dog
@tryme and eh. You are entitled to your opinions as am I. Just to clarify I post on here when I see issues that I am interested in and know something about. Here’s the thing, I actually voted Independent in May 2013 and was almost immediately disappointed by their actions or lack of them. No plan to replace the framework for change which was subsequently described as… Read more »
tryme

At least your tone has become more civil since your earlier posts, Black Dog. Though to pointedly call Cllr Stubbings ‘Mr’ perhaps makes up for this and spoils the effect.

tryme
Your jeering comments that provide no insight but try to damage, do not reflect well on you Black Dog. Do I think someone at the heart of this situation might have something of use to say to us? Yes I do! Perhaps it is you who are trying to ‘stoke’, for fear the understated and reasonable tones of Cllrs Stubbings and Jordan detract from a version of… Read more »
Cynic
One has to admire the political skills of a puppeteer who can not only remain invisible but can manipulate the strings so expertly that the puppets themselves are unaware their actions are being directed. Such skill in fomenting political mayhem in another party must have been long honed in another political venue. :-) Dismiss this as just another conspiracy theory? Maybe so, but first ask yourself who… Read more »
tryme

…poison in the ear, as I suggested?

On an entirely different subject, amazing we haven’t heard from CW isn’t it.

Cynic

No- as I suggested earlier- I suspect that many PR companies are probably very busy at the moment trying to spin any overall bad news about GCSE results by Island academies (and those elsewhere) into good news.

Maybe there is a neologism for the process in there somewhere- a “Goveism”, an ” AlistairCampbellism”?

:-))

tryme

I daresay CW hasn’t got any interest in this at all ;D

I am only speculating. Don’t know what makes you so sure though …

Cynic

Ambition and politics are bosom companions.

Cynic

Bingo! :-))

retired Hack

He is Tweeting. Rather gleefully, it has to be said.

wightwonders
At the executive meeting cllr stubbings mentioned there was a “potential dispute” relating to the shanklin railway cutting landslip. That was one of the items that was modified in the final version of the report, and led to priest/Gilbey fallout, so must warrant further investigation. From the paper, the report mentions that the council is currently considering whether there is any legal liability on this item, so… Read more »
Rush-ed Close
Conflicts and power. This housing development has been ongoing for a number of years and has involved a number of Councillors and local entrepreneurs, each trying to ‘assist’ but never getting anywhere! It is sad that it has come this. Greed and avarice. Disputes come in many different guises but this is just poor judgement and rank nonsense that has possibly damaged a town and the island… Read more »
Dementia

Is it seemly for Councillors…..of any persuasion ….to be involving themselves in slanging matches with the electorate on this board ?
However tempting it may be.

Robert Jones
I don’t know if it’s seemly or not – although I think they’d be best advised to stick to the facts as they know them and keep any personal comments to themselves – but all this is revealing something more important. Once upon a time, we had a County Treasurer. He was responsible for the County Council’s finances, he made reports to Council, he – a professional… Read more »
Geoff Lumley
Dear Robert, old friend, I’m afraid things have moved on apace since the glory days of local government that you hark back to, largely due to Mr Blair’s reformist zeal in the early 2000’s. To assure you, the Managing Director (MD) of the IW Council is a more than well-qualified, full-time officer who would have perfectly fitted your paragon of County Treasurer if he had been of… Read more »
Albert Street

Very well put councillor Lumley

Robert Jones
Geoff, me old duck, I know all that, but harking back to the past is sometimes defensible if the past was better than the future and the god-awful mess we’ve got now. I am, as you know, no fan or defender of Blair. Other than accepting the status quo, however, I don’t know quite what there might be to defend in the present system. To have a… Read more »
steve s

I absolutely agree, Dementia, that a slanging match would be highly inappropriate. I apologise for anything that I may have contributed that makes this seem like one. Clearly, one can only present the facts as one sees them. Sometimes we’re even in a position to clear up a misconception. I think some corespondents occasionally find this helpful.

davidwalter
Robert Jones — “To have a café proprietor responsible for issuing financial reports to the Council is an absurdity” Depends on the café proprietor. We could do worse than a Jo Lyons on the IWC. Very fine café proprietor was he. I know an old boy who stacks the wine shelves in a Waitrose. He used to be the MD of a very successful electronics company and… Read more »
tryme

I almost gave you an up-arrow for this one davidwalter, except I don’t know what an ‘FCA’ is and thought I’d be careful.

tryme
Definitely it’s helpful! I don’t want to be at the mercy here of those looking for any opportunity to do down the Indies and putting the boot in, without some measured responses such as Steve and Phil give. I find it quite amusing that electors wanted openness, yet as soon as we see the inner workings, the Indies get heavily criticised here! As I’ve said, we elected… Read more »
davidwalter
Robert Jones — good question. A short Google provides a pdf from Slough that gives some idea of the situation; should be possible to find out the required qualifications. https://www.slough.gov.uk/moderngov/documents/s11903/Part%203%20-%20Proper%20Officer%20Appointments.pdf Last time I asked the IWC for the qualifications of an officer who had carried out a statistical analysis of housing needs data I was informed that “It is not Council policy to disclose qualifications of members… Read more »
Robert Jones
We can assume, I hope, that employed staff have all the qualifications needed to carry out their role. And we can be sure that councillors for the most part, certainly including the present incumbents, have no qualifications at all. The idea that Mr Gilbey, of whom I know very little, is our equivalent of the Chancellor of the Exchequer (which presumably is what we’re supposed to believe)… Read more »
davidwalter

Well thank you, tryme :-) An FCA is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. A friendly post is worth a thousand up arrows, so thank you again. I’ve just given you an up arrow, nevertheless.

Robert Jones

I should add here, because I’ve virtually identified a councillor in the old régime, that I think she had a completely impossible job, was overworked and overburdened, and did not receive the support to which she was entitled. The fault lies in systems more than it does in individuals, and I regret that I may have over-personalized my criticism.

steve s

Robert,
The section 151 officer for the Isle of Wight council is Stuart Fraser. He proffered, and ‘altered’ the report.

Black Dog

So the report was altered by Mr Fraser? As with this entire episode the devil will be in the detail.

At what point in the sequence of events did Mr Fraser alter the report? Before or after the fallout?

steve s

He produced the first, the second and the final draft.
The rest is, I believe, explained in the exchange above.

Robert Jones
If that’s the case – and I don’t doubt it is – what is the fuss about? (You may of course be asking the same thing…) We have been asked to believe so far that Mr Gilbey produced a report which was then altered by the Leader. Now, that never did make an awful lot of sense, but being trusting consumers of whatever information the council sees… Read more »
tryme

Thank you for ‘fissiparous’ Robert. I see it’s not a typo after all, and I shall be working it into my conversation (to blank looks all round no doubt) as soon as I have learned to pronounce it. ;-)

steve s

Mostly for the benefit of Cllr Whitehouse I’m compelled to add that Stuart Fraser amended the first draft of this paper at the request of those present at the informal executive meeting where he delivered his briefing. You may also like to note that his name is on the paper as the contact point.

Old Knobby
Does that mean that Stuart is shown as the author of the report? I can see that Cllr Gilbey might be annoyed if the report appeared to be entirely authored by him but had then been changed, particularly if the changes were controversial, or could come back to legally (or otherwise) bite him on the backside. In my own professional life, I’d certainly feel uncomfortable taking full… Read more »
retired Hack
With every glimmer of light which is brought to thios this affair, so increases the desperation of Cllr Chris Whitehouse to bring further obfuscation. He’s now busily (and yes, gleefully, but not in a good way) Tweeting about Steve Subbings having “named” an individual council officer, and how shocking that is. The name of Stuart Fraser appears, of course, in Richard Priest’s email which tops this story.… Read more »
Dementia

Is anyone minding the shop at County Hall during all of this ?

Cynic

(Per CP online)
“Questions were asked at the full council meeting by the Tory group leader, Cllr Dave Stewart, and on behalf of former council leader David Pugh, querying who had changed the report, and why.”

Is the remote puppeteer revealing the strings?