Thursday, July 23, 2009

Councillor Enjoys Port 'Freebie'

Cripes! It must be whistleblower season or something, as another juicy titbit has landed in the old Eastcliff mitts!

It would appear from the document in front of me that one of those council-owned lock-ups underneath the arches along Military Road has been used by a district councillor for a substantial period of time - rent free! Priceless! (Literally!) The audit report to Thanet Council, dated December 2008, states:

A random survey of empty lock-ups in Military Road revealed one to be occupied with no apparent contract or charges being levied. As this property was being used to store a vehicle belonging to a District Councillor the Council is exposed to accusations of irregularity and poor corporate governance.

'Irregularity'? I should say so! Smacks of the worst kind of councillor back-scratching to me! Hmmm. I wonder who the district councillor concerned could be? Oh, hang on, did somebody mention Tory stalwart Councillor Roberts, who used to be in charge of Thanet Council's Maritime Services, which runs the port? No, surely not!

That's not the only 'irregularity' the report flags up. Among the highlights are £138,000 spent with one fuel supplier (presumably the only one on the island) 'without a market tested contract being in place'. A tug contract for around £211,000 exempted from Contract Procedure Rules without being reported to council cabinet. An outstanding debt of £10,000 where 'no lease or licence was entered into, or a written agreement of any sort'. The list goes on.

Seems like Evans the Harbour has one or two questions to answer there!

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

he has just brought a new porche and can be seen showing it off down the harbour old man small d... syndrom

Anonymous said...

That's him!

Anonymous said...

Is he keeping it in the lock-up??

Anonymous said...

And is he going to claim MP-like that it was all a mistake, and pay the back rent to the council?

Anonymous said...

He used to run marlic generators out of there .when he heard the rents going up he sold up.( ps not to be confused with marlec marine different firm ).

DrM. said...

The supporting facts behind this story are quite misleading, as is the conclusion that's reached here. It's a complete non-story!

Once again, if you suspect there has been any irregularity simply raise the appropriate question with the council.

Anonymous said...

dr m conservative freemason u all stick together

Anonymous said...

Moores is presently a local government Conservative councillor for the Isle of Thanet in Kent

Anonymous said...

being our councillor for us u should do that ?

Eastcliff Richard said...

Dr M,

In the words of the auditors themselves, allowing Cllr Roberts (if it is he) free use of the lock-up means:

the Council is exposed to accusations of irregularity and poor corporate governance.

I do not 'suspect' an irregularity as it's all in black and white in the report. I'm making the accusation the council has exposed itself to!

And if the facts in this story are 'misleading' then you had better take that up with the auditors too, as everything in it has come from their report.

As for it being a 'non-story', I'm not so sure others would concur with your opinion there either!

Anonymous said...

Well said, Richard.
It is appalling arrogance for Dr M to dictate that it is a "non-story".
If the This is Kent website is to be believed, he is also working with the council's chief exec to rein-in other councillors' blogs.
I hope you will continue to stand up to him on behalf of all the little non-people.

Anonymous said...

Here here

Anonymous said...

"Doctor" Moores is always quick to come in and say that something is a "non-story"...that "the background facts are not as they are being presented"...without EVER offering what he would argue are the real facts.

Invariably, it does not suit him to do so. He is, after all, the master of spin and the avoider of substance.

In this instance, it is an audit report which - unfortunately for him and his cronies - points up apparent irregularities on the part of yet another Tory Thanet Councillor. It is not a blogger "creation".

Of course having attempted to bully or divert with his spinning, he then rarely returns to the scene of his efforts to sustain the debate.

Stop Manston Expansion Group said...

May I suggest a barrage of letters to our respective council reps?

It is 'just what the Doctor ordered', after all....,......

Stop Manston Expansion Group said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mnottingham said...

Simon's comment is disappointing, there are plenty of questions I have with the Council as a councillor that don't get answered or I have to keep asking.
Insufficient resources for the Scrutiny process.
Failure to notify meetings being held in Councillors wards on key issues.
Consistently poor IT to members.
prompt response to correspondence.
I could go on.
By all means write, but don't hold your breath....

Anonymous said...

If you've read the report, Cllr. Moores, you'll be aware of other instances of 'bad practice' highlighted by the auditors so,'a non-story'? I think not when many 'bad practices' are mentioned.

I assume you have read it in full? If not, you should before commenting.

Anonymous said...

Dr. M., surely if the auditors reported on this 'iregularity' then it is hardly a non-story. A TDC councillor using a TDC-owned garage without paying rent? Sounds like a 'story' to me. What would be the rent charged on a commercially-rented garage? Anyone know?

Anonymous said...

About 600 quid a year for a bog standard lock-up but I believe these workshops under Military Road arches go for a lot more as they are commercial premises.

Anonymous said...

The councillor concerned should be arrested on suspicion of fraud and questioned; that is what would happen if a council employee were found to have been doing this.

All this bollocks from politicians about mistakes and rules being unclear... If you are getting something for nothing it is undoubtedly wrong and you are probably a thief.

DrM. said...

You may recall that before joining the Cabinet, I was on the audit committee and was involved in the process that led to this report..

There is a world of difference between an 'irregularity' and the other more serious allegations made here. If anything was improper then it is only right that action should be taken to correct it. In this example nothing 'improper' has been suggested, while I grant you that the appearance of impropriety exists, which is unforunate, given the actual circumstances that led to the arrangemnt and which I understand led to a benefit to the council.

Anonymous said...

This lock up thingy is only a small issue really copared to the rest of the report. Go to Thanet Strife and read on!