Sunday, 7 February 2010

Council Day

Tuesday saw us all at the Council House for Full Council.
First up was Keith asking a question about the criteria for the installation of grit bins. These are not just placed willy-nilly. There is a criteria for their installation. Since the heavy snowfalls recently the Highways Dept has received requests for hundreds of them, some for ourselves. The majority of these are for places where there has never been one before but then we haven't had snow that heavy for many years. Every request is sent to the local Engineers, a site visit carried out and a bin installed only if it meets the criteria. We were asked for one on Oaklands Way but the problem there is sheet ice due to water coming off a grassed area. A bin would be pointless as the water would wash away the salt but it has now been agreed that a land-drain will be installed to prevent the water seepage. It was also pointed out the the Labour administration under Cllr Stewart Stracey, the "Butcher of Broad Street", withdrew hundreds of bins in 2001 as a cost-cutting measure. This administration restored them in 2004.
John Lines then reported on Housing. This has been a success story for the partnership as anyone on Frankley can see just by looking around. Thanks to the Labour administration's neglect Council Houses were a real mess with windows falling out, doors hanging off and repairs backlogged. They even spent £12million trying to get rid of Council Tenants, some of it to Big Ron Atkinson. He appeared in a video advising tenants to vote for stock transfer. Of course as he lived in a big house in Barnt Green it didn't go down too well. Ken made a speech at this point as he is the Lead Member for the Conservatives on the Housing Scrutiny Committee as well as being the Northfield Constituency Chairman. This involves working closely with Constituency officers on the budget etc.
Keith then seconded an amendment to a Labour motion criticising  the Council, and by association Council employees, over sickness rates and for issuing a Section 188 Notice to the Trade Unions in the Adults and Communities Dept. This is a formal notice required by law to inform the unions and employees that the jobs covered by the notice, about 1300, are being reviewed. This has caused great scaremongering from Labour and the Unions that 1300 jobs are to be cut. As usual this is premature as the process is only at the start and no decisions will be taken until the review is completed. Sir Albert Bore moved the motion which was high in criticism but low, or non-existent, on solutions. Typical Labour opportunism. The amendment was successful and the Labour motion defeated. All in all a good meeting for the partnership and another weak display from Labour.