Friday 28 January 2011

Patronising Nonsense - Carmarthenshire Council 'Cuts Survey'

I am glad it wasn't just me who thought Carmarthenshire Council's latest attempt to 'engage' with the public was nothing more than a poor PR stunt. Today's Western Mail reports on the ridiculous survey which appeared in the local paper, a two page spread in enormous print asking for our views regarding spending cuts accompanied by the usual patronising nonsense. There are 15 questions covering 6 areas of services amounting to approx £2.5m - naturally your views (strongly agree to strongly disagree), will be completely ignored, and that's only if you can be bothered to post two sheets of newspaper through the post. I am not sure what the local paper were thinking of by even printing this. Anyhow, by trawling through recent council minutes it is clear that the decisions have already been made. It's the familiar line of closing the care homes, libraries, children's centres, etc much of which I've mentioned before.
It is shocking that this council executive will bend over backwards to help out a rugby team and yet at the same time consider cutting services to the elderly, the young and the vulnerable.
What is very worrying is that on the back of this sham consultation, Gravell and Co will try and claim the moral authority and once again democracy will die another little death in Carmarthenshire. She should go.
There's a comment on the article, which I heartily agree with;
"Carmarthenshire County Council under Meryl Gravell, has awarded itself - its councillors and officers, some of the highest salaries and pension pots in Wales.
I suggest we go back to councillors claiming only out of pocket expenses, no monthly salaries or pension pots since most of them have outside money making interest anyway. The claim that the salaries attract younger, better qualified councillors is blatantly untrue as we still have too many of the same faces staring out of the pages of Carmarthen County Council's ego centred self publication 'Community News'.
Under Chief Executive Mark James, one of those listed among the top ten in UK earning more than the Prime Minister and appointed by Meryl Gravell, - the number of highly paid officers in middle management (those earning more than £50,000) jumped from 4 at the time, of Mark James' appointment to 49 by 2006-2007after his appointment. Their salary bill jumped from £230,000 in 1996-1997 to the staggering sum of £3,785,000 in 2006-2007. In addition, councillors salaries have added greatly to that bill.
If anything has to be cut, let it start with these over inflated, self opinionated individuals. There are far too many of them anyway. Real decision making has long become restricted to Meryl Gravell and her 'executive cabinet' with input from her CE so why do we need 70+ councillors and 40+ middle management officers cluttering up county hall and its satellite buildings? Come to that - why do we need Meryl Gravell or any of them since Mark James runs the shooting match anyway with little regard for the democratic process of decision making by the elected representatives of the local population?"

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