The Council’s ex-Monitoring Officer, Mr Harvey Patterson, who was dismissed last week by the Chief Executive, had made extremely serious allegations that the Chief Executive and the Head of East Kent Human Resources, Councillor Michelle Fenner, and Council Leader, Clive Hart, may have taken actions which could possibly undermine the investigation of my complaint. These allegations were set out in a 13 page letter supported by 20 pages of documentation. This letter was sent to the members of the General Purposes Committee last week and within 48 hours Mr Patterson was dismissed from his employment with the Council. I wonder why?Just so that you aware, every Council is required by law to have a Monitoring Officer. It is the job of the Monitoring Officer to ensure that the council, its staff and elected councillors always act in in accordance with the law of the land and the Council’s own rules and regulations, which are set out in its Constitution. For a Monitoring Officer to send out a 13 page letter making extremely serious allegations against some of the most senior people at Thanet Council, is not a step which would have been taken lightly. In fact, it’s about as serious as it gets.
But to continue with my story, at last nights meeting the Conservative members of the General Purposes Committee put forward a motion that Mr Patterson’s allegations should be properly investigated and discussed by the committee. This motion was supported by the Independent and UKIP members of the Committee. To my utter astonishment and disbelief, Labour Councillors Michelle Fenner and Allan Poole voted against this motion. Labour Councillor Rick Everit abstained. Fortunately the motion was passed and there will now be an investigation. However, it’s the voting of Fenner and Poole which should be of massive public concern.Here we have 2 of the most senior Labour politicians in Thanet voting against an investigation into, what I believe to be, the most serious allegations of misconduct ever to have hit Thanet Council. These allegations were not made by the usual suspects, such as myself, but by the Council’s own Monitoring Officer!.
Most incredible of all, Councillor Fenner, one the people against whom the Monitoring Officer had levelled very serious allegations, voted last night to oppose an investigation into her own actions! It’s like me being able to vote against the Police investigation into allegations that I assaulted a security guard at the live exports demonstration at Ramsgate Port this week.Voting to protect your backside is a massive breach of the Councillors Code of Conduct. I also believe it to be contrary to the rules and regulations governing councillors conflicts of interest. These rules mean that Councillor Fenner should not have voted on the motion to investigate Mr Patterson’s letter and should have left the room whilst the debate and vote took place. It’s inconceivable that Fenner, an experienced councillor of many years standing, did not know that it is ethically and perhaps legally wrong to vote to block an investigation into yourself. It’s also amazing that the Chief Executive and new interim Monitoring Officer who were both at the meeting last night, failed to advise Fenner that in voting on the motion she had placed herself in a position of massive conflict of interest. I will of course be taking this up with the powers that be.
In today’s Thanet Gazette Council Leader Clive Hart has the audacity to write that the Council’s Labour administration is “as open as possible”. This North Korean style re-writer of history neglects to say that it was under his own leadership that the scandals and cover-ups relating to TransEuropa Ferries, East Kent Opportunities, Little Oasis Skate Park and more recently Dreamland have emerged. Now his lieutenants are desperately trying to bury allegations about how they may have tried to nobble an important investigation into serious allegations against the Chief Executive.Instead of taking responsibility for his administration’s actions Hart heaps the blame on a “tiny but very noisy and disruptive minority of councillors”. Well I have news for Hart. This tiny group of noisy and disruptive councillors is becoming bigger. The Conservatives, my colleague independents, and UKIP are now beginning to put aside our difference to fight back against Hart's political mismanagement of Thanet Council. Even within his own Labour Group a growing number of councillors are becoming increasingly disillusioned with his brand of leadership. How long will the great leader survive?
In less than a year you will have chance to rid Thanet Council of those politicians responsible for abusing power, telling lies, covering up wrongdoing, and mis-managing services. In less than a year you will have the chance to replace them with people who are passionate about open and honest government and developing a prosperous and sustainable future for Thanet and its people. Its time for a change.