Saturday, 4 January 2014

Refuse Crisis Apology - Poole Still Doesn't Get It

Councillor Alan Poole is a member of Thanet Council's Labour controlled Cabinet. He is  responsible for  Operational Services  which includes the  refuse collection service. For this responsibility  he gets  paid an allowance of £10,766 ON TOP of his basic Councillor allowance of £4,360.

Whilst everyone agrees it's a good thing, the introduction of the Council's new refuse recycling service has been beset with persistent problems. These problems came to an head over the Xmas and New Year period when, by all accounts,  hundreds of homes  had no collections.

Councillor Poole's response to these serious problems has been appalling. Rather than reassuring  residents, developing robust contingency plans,  and beginning an investigation into what went wrong and how the troubled system can be improved, he has sought to blame others

At the Council meeting on 5th December  he  blamed local residents for the difficulties with the new recycling system because, he alleged,  they hadn't  read the  leaflets! In an e-mail of 2 January  he once again blamed local people  saying "inconsiderate parking by residents, bins put out on the wrong day or put in the wrong place or contaminated " are the cause of the collection problems.

Today,  Councillor Poole has issued a statement about the refuse collection problems over the festive season which has been  published on the Council's website. At long last he appeares  to have recognised that the failure of the service was  much larger and more significant  than he portrayed when interviewed by BBC Radio Kent on Friday. There was even a belated apology to Thanet residents for the inconvenience caused be the collection problems. 

But wait for it!  The apology is not from Councillor Poole,TDCs Refuse Collector in Chief , but a mealy mouthed apology on behalf  diffuse corporate entity know as  Thanet District Council. Not once in his statement  does Poole take personal responsibility for a service he ultimately controls and is paid handsomely for controlling. Not once does he say that he is personally sorry for the inconvenience caused by the failures of the service he is accountable for.

But worst of all after finally admitting that the collection problems were not caused by the actions of local people, Councillor Poole fails to publically apologise for  his disgusting efforts to  scapegoat  Thanet residents for the failures of a service  for which he receives a large £10,766 special responsibility allowance. This is  a shameful  omission.

People have an expectation that their elected representatives should behave with honour and integrity and that they should shoulder full responsibility for the services they were voted in to manage. This appears to be a concept which Councillor Poole does not understand. Instead of  taking responsibility for his service he has continually tried to point the finger at everyone but himself. This is why he should be removed from the Cabinet.

Just over a month ago four Independent  (non-political) Members of Thanet Standards Committee produced  a report  about the public perception of Thanet Council and its Councillors. Amongst other things the report  highlighted the fact that some Councillors had made "comments towards members of the of the public which have been less than respectful". It also pointed out that some Councillors wrote letters, e-mails and press releases which sometimes  included "attacks on members on the public". The four Independent Members of the Standards Committee said in their report that such behaviour fell short of high standards of behaviour expected of Councillors.

Councillor Poole along with the his Labour Cabinet chums and Council Leader Clive Hart, spent more than an hour mercilessly attacking and bullying the Independent Members of the Standards Committee for having the audacity to produce a report which told the truth about bad behaviour by Councillors. These shameful actions led to the report being voted down and the Independent Standards Members resigning.

Some people might assume that the forcing out of Independent Standards Committee members was deliberately engineered  by the Labour Cabinet to silence their critics. Councillor Poole's recent blame games, certainly support this view. Either way, there is no doubt that the behaviour of senior Thanet Council politicians are bringing TDC into  disrepute and that action must taken.

Its time for a change!

PS in the absence of a proper apology from Councillor Poole the picture of recently deceased Ronnie Biggs probably sums up the feelings of many Thanet residents toward the Council and so-called political leaders.



  1. It is, indeed, time for a change.

    What grieves me, as a long time labour voter, is that the behaviour of the members of the current cabinet typifies quite eloquently all that is wrong with the political situation in TDC. I was also saddened to read that both the cabinet and their shadows put the blame for the poor public perception of the council at your door. This is, in my opinion, quite inaccurate. While many people may disagree with some of the actions that you have taken in the past year or so, I would suggest that you are the symptom of the problems within TDC and not the cause. Your campaigns are bringing to public light a lot of suspicious council behaviour over the years.

    I also wonder, given that the report referred to perceptions of corruption and did not accuse councillors of actually being corrupt, why it was that so many members of the labour cabinet focussed on that particular word and perceived it as being a direct attack on them and their integrity. Interesting, no?

    Certainly, I don't know how I'd vote in the future local elections - in many areas of Thanet, the voters are stuck between a rock and a similarly uninviting hard place.

  2. "Whilst everyone agrees it's a good thing, the introduction of the Council's new refuse recycling service ........" I do not agree! The public now have to sort the rubbish much more for TDC, yes the ability to put glass into the system is a plus but is way overdue. Employ a few more people who'd like a low tech job and put in some automated sorting machinery instead.

  3. We need a clearout 15:29 as you point out Hart and Bayford are both unappealing and simply covering up the corruption (if not actively a part of it with Pleasurama or thew Chinagate dodgy donations and the blatant 0% fraud). Another year of these fools will be awful. How to get rid of them with dwindling turnouts when they're down to voting for each other and getting back in?

    1. Did 15:29 actually mention either Hart or Bayford? Nowhere can I find their names in that comment, 05:51, though I take it you are either assuming that was implied or maybe you are 15:29. Whatever, the ballot box, short of revolution, is the only way and, sadly, many will still vote along established party lines irrespective of the performance of those wearing the rosettes.

  4. My rubbish didn't get collected before Christmas and it wasn't collected this week. I think the bin men did come round but it was in the afternoon, whereas they normally come round before 08:00 in the morning. In the holidays I visited South Wales. The bin-men there were collecting on a Sunday to make sure that the post Christmas waste didn't accumulate.