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LTC Points Of View

LTC Points Of View

LTC Points Of View

Letter from: Valerie Morgan, Past Chairman Leigh Town Council  (LTC).

SIR, When are the Conservative councillors on LTC going to stop being profligate with the precept payers money.

There is a well respected Town Clerk languishing at home, who must be despairing of the current chaos, while the coffers are rapidly being emptied spending extortionate sums on locums.

This has to end.

Letter from: Valerie Morgan, Past Chairman Leigh Town Council, Leigh.

SIR, I must respond to Coun Gilson’s letter in Leigh News of Jan 23rd.

All Town Council meetings had accurate minutes published up to July this year and have been open to the public. Coun Gilson has been a councillor since late 2018, half of the 10 years he mentions.

There has been one Town Clerk in that time, currently under suspension by the current councillors for unknown reasons.

One Town Clerk, in post for many years, did leave for unknown reasons some time ago to be replaced by the late Paul Beckerson who sadly retired due to ill health.

He mentions the “old political guard”, Leigh Town Council always prided itself on being non political working only for The Good of Leigh.

The current  Conservative members have changed that as little seems to be happening apart from events organised by the hard working staff.

No innovative new events, a flawed budget where will it end?

 

Letter from: Cate Willoughby, Leigh resident.

SIR, thank you for your article, ‘Council Meeting Suspended.’

I believe I am the resident referred to in your sub-heading, ‘Constant interruptions from member of the public’.’ And beneath that, ‘Bernard Arscott responded to interruptions from a member of the public by suspending the meeting.’ A few clarifications,

1/ It was not constant interruptions, it was a question over expenditure

2/ The question could not have interrupted the meeting unduly since, when the Chair, Bernard Arscott, asked councillors to vote on my immediate removal only 2 out of 13 councillors voted with him. I checked this number when the vote took place and, again, to online footage of the meeting.

3/ The question I tried to ask was ‘Why is the Locum clerk paid £4,750 for 8 days work when her agreed rate was £3,200 (excl VAT). And (I didn’t get to ask this) Did she really spend £1,550 on expenses for 8 days work? And, if so, why?

4/ It’s a time-critical question, i.e. it couldn’t wait until public questions at the March council meeting as it’s the Council’s stated expectation that the Locum will leave as soon as possible. Any errors in pay would need to be corrected by that date.

What is particularly frustrating is that when Councillors – without a financial background – have questions over innocuous payments, they launch a review costing £1000+. When residents ask a similar question, we are silenced, threatened with removal, the meeting suspended and police called.

What would have been better is if the Chair offered to look into the discrepancy and /or advised this was already under review.

 

Letter from: James Preston, Leigh resident.

SIR, for those residents wondering what on earth is happening at our beloved Leigh Town Council (LTC), I felt it beneficial to add a brief overview of events so far.

May 2023, 16 new Leigh town councillors were appointed, 13 of which represent the Conservative Party. The large majority of them were unopposed, so not actually voted in.

Whilst that is not a problem per se, it has amplified the issues being witnessed.

Traditionally the Leigh Town Councillors have been non political.

The current issues we are experiencing are not necessarily based on the colour of their ribbon, but the lack of professionalism, empathy, honesty and knowledge displayed to the local residents by individual councillors (who happen to align themselves to a specific party).

Due process has not been followed on staffing matters, budget control, councillor training and within the various committees.

Decisions are being made privately and pushed through by what seems like a party whip.

The three independent Leigh Town Councillors are unable to make their voices heard as they are a significant minority.

LTC has traditionally been very active within the community, but we are not getting the same level of service that we have come to expect and rightly deserve.

The Seven Principles of Public Life, a code of conduct called the Nolan principals, are not being adhered to: Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty and Leadership.

Certain council members have suggested it is a small minority of the public causing issues for the council and have an agenda for removing them from LTC.

However, a recent local petition calling out a lack of empathy from council members with a resolution to improve the issue gained over 400 local signatures.

At the recent town meetings, concerned residents have not been allowed to speak and were spoken to in a rude and disrespectful manner by the chairman.

Suggestions on how to ease the tensions and residents concerns have been ignored by the Chairman.

At the last Council meeting the Chair called the police due to an unruly crowd heckling them, engaged, concerned and passionate residents would be a more appropriate name.

This has now become a newsworthy story, making newspaper headlines and BBC radio programmes.

On the whole, a disturbing and embarrassing situation for Leigh and our Town Council, with no obvious end in sight.

Future council meetings will be announced on the LTC website, feel free to attend.

The risk that Leigh could lose the Town Council and the services it offers is very real.

 

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