Monday, 2 July 2012

Lewisham Councillors Expenses.The Greed, The Corruption.

Dear Reader, As you can see from my questions, it has opened a can of worms. Clearly these 2 Labour Councillors, Padmore and Long have Claimed a staggering £11.344.50 each for just attending 1 meeting out of an expected 17. At full Council meetings it would seem that the paper work has been altered to give the impression that Councillors have been present at meetings, that clearly they did not attend. Why is the Labour party signing attendence records for councillors who have not shown up? this is clearly fraud if true, and people before profit will be raising more questions on this, at the next public meeting. I have also under freedom of information, requested full attendence and money claimed by Councillor Long from SLAM. Whilst Labour seeks to protect Councillor Long, readers may recall that before the last round of Elections Long was featured in the News shopper Newspaper for her poor level of attendence. Will this abuse of power be anothe to get life long Labour party Voters to end the greed and the Gravy train, the only way they can, by Voting People before profit candidates in the next round of Elections?. PUBLIC QUESTION NO. 1 LONDON BOROUGH OF LEWISHAM COUNCIL MEETING 28 JUNE 2012 Question asked by: Mr R Woolford (on behalf of Lewisham People Before Profit) Member to reply: Councillor Maslin Question Can you please confirm how much money in allowances and expenses Councillor Long and Councillor Padmore have claimed from January 2011 to January 2012? Reply Councillors Long and Padmore both received a Basic Councillor Allowance of £9,812. Additionally Councillor Long was Chair of the Council until April 6 2011 and Councillor Padmore was Chair of a Planning Committee until the same date. Each therefore received an additional Special Responsibility payment of £1,532.50p for the period specified. Neither Councillor Long or Councillor Padmore claimed any expenses between January 2011 and January 2012. Q Time PUBLIC QUESTION NO. 2 LONDON BOROUGH OF LEWISHAM COUNCIL MEETING 28 JUNE 2012 Question asked by: Mr R Woolford (on behalf of Lewisham People Before Profit) Member to reply: Mayor Question Can the Mayor confirm that he is happy for Labour Councillors to only attend meetings once every six months, in order that they can claim up to £13,000 in public allowances? Reply My happiness is completely irrelevant to the way in which councillors carry out their duties. Those duties include a range of activities only some of which are recorded and published. Meetings of formal bodies which usually take place at the Town Hall form an important part of a councillor’s role and it is these which are recorded. I would expect councillors to attend a high proportion of those meetings as well as carrying out their other duties diligently. Q Time PUBLIC QUESTION NO. 3 LONDON BOROUGH OF LEWISHAM COUNCIL MEETING 28 JUNE 2012 Question asked by: Mr R Woolford (on behalf of Lewisham People Before Profit) Member to reply: Mayor Question Can the Mayor at a time of real need, cuts and attacks on the most poor in Lewisham, state what is the acceptable number of meetings Councillors should attend, and what is the number of advice surgeries Councillors should be expected to attend, per year? Reply I will deal first with attendance at meetings. It is difficult to place a definitive number on attendance as there will be individual factors that need to be taken into account both personal to the councillor and also concerning the number of meetings involved in as much as some councillors are required to attend more meetings than others. I would expect councillors to attend a significant proportion of such meetings and also expect attendance records to be taken into account when future appointments are under consideration. I do not have direct and personal responsibility for councillors with the exception of my Cabinet members who I expect to attend most meetings but recognise that there may be occasions when their attendance at an unrecorded community meeting will be a better use of their time. On other occasions there may, of course, be personal reasons for non-attendance for example ill-health. With regard to advice surgeries there cannot be a hard and fast view on the right number of surgeries. When I was a ward councillor I represented two very different wards one which required the councillors to ensure that there were weekly surgeries and attendance was usually in double figures. When I represented another ward the take up at the fortnightly surgery never reached double figures and on many occasions no one came at all. In planning advice surgeries it is essential that local circumstances are taken into account. I am also aware that in the ten years since I stopped being a ward councillor many more people have begun to use email and indeed social media. Receiving casework via Facebook as happens now was unheard of ten years ago. Councillors would be well advised to keep their arrangements under review and adjust them to take account of their electors preferences. Q Time ED RES. & REGEN. PUBLIC QUESTION NO. 4 LONDON BOROUGH OF LEWISHAM COUNCIL MEETING 28 JUNE 2012 Question asked by: Mr R Woolford (on behalf of Lewisham People Before Profit) Member to reply: Mayor Question Can the Mayor give reasons as to why two Councillors for New Cross Ward, Councillors Padmore and Long, are failing to serve there electorate by not attending advice surgeries advertised, and why according to Lewisham Counci’ls own web site, Councillors Long and Padmore have only attended 1 meeting out of the 17 they had been expected to attend? Reply I have endeavoured to contact both of the individual councillors mentioned before formulating an answer to this question. I have also looked at the current information regarding attendance which is published on the Council web site. I have received information from Cllr Long and my response is based on that. In the case of Cllr Padmore I have not been able to make contact but have received some limited information third hand. There are two distinct parts to this question and I will deal with them separately. I will deal firstly with attendance at Advice surgeries. It is my understanding that some changes were made to the Advice surgery arrangements for New Cross Ward to reduce the number from 4 to 2 per month – one at All Saints Church and one at Wavelengths Library and that the advertising was changed to reflect this. However it is possible that some of the material advertising the previous arrangements is still in circulation and this may have caused some confusion. There was also a period when Wavelengths Library was closed and there was a delay in being able to relocate the surgeries until Deptford Lounge opened. Other than these difficulties I am only aware of one occasion when an advertised surgery did not take place due unforeseen family issues. It is my understanding that the surgeries are currently being held by Cllrs Long and Maslin only due to Cllr Padmore’s ill health although I understand he has continued to deal with case work on behalf of constituents who contact him directly. I will now turn to the question of attendance at meetings. As I indicated earlier I have not had direct contact with Cllr Padmore and his attendance over the last six months (the most recent period published on the Council’s web site) is very low which is matter for considerable concern. However as I indicated earlier it is my understanding that Cllr Padmore has been ill. I do not know the extent or seriousness of that illness and I shall discuss with appropriate colleagues what action is appropriate in these circumstances. Cllr Long acknowledges that her attendance during the calendar year 2011 at those meetings where this is recorded fell below the high standards she had maintained during her previous 28 years on the council however her current attendance over the last six months is 60% according to the information published on the Council’s web site. Cllr Long also drew to my attention that she has a public service role within the NHS as chair of SLaM which imposes a significant work load of its own. I understand that Cllr Long attends a number of meetings in the local area which are not included in the figures published by the council. Question Q Time PUBLIC QUESTION NO. 5 LONDON BOROUGH OF LEWISHAM COUNCIL MEETING 28 JUNE 2012 Question asked by: Mr R Woolford (on behalf of Lewisham People Before Profit) Member to reply: Mayor Question Is The Labour Group leader aware, that none of the 3 Labour New Cross ward Councillors are attending Advice surgeries? Reply I refer the questioner to the answer to question 4 which makes clear that this question is based on inaccurate information. Q Time PUBLIC QUESTION NO. 6 LONDON BOROUGH OF LEWISHAM COUNCIL MEETING 28 JUNE 2012 Question asked by: Mr R Woolford (on behalf of Lewisham People Before Profit) Member to reply: The Mayor Question Can the Mayor please explain why Councillor Joseph Folorunso,(Eveyn Ward) email and telephone details given out on all Council literature and website is inaccurate, making it almost impossible for Evelyn Ward residents to contact him with problems, case work and requests for help, .and can you confirm when he will start to attend advertised advice Surgery's in Evelyn ward? Reply I have spoken to Cllr Folorunso and he has informed me that the telephone number which has been advertised on the Council web site is correct but he has been experiencing difficulty receiving email through the council system. His contact phone number 0208 314 6905 and email is as published on his surgery leaflet. Officers are checking that there are no technical problems and that the information on the website and Lewisham life is correct. Cllr Folorunso informed me that he and his fellow ward councillors are covering the advice surgeries as advertised. I will ask Council officers to assist in resolving the technical problems.

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