In July 2015 the public face of Shepwayvox got hold of all Cllrs expenses and as a team we waded through them. We discovered significant anomalies and began to post information relating to Cllr Peter Simmons [Tory] New Romney, who is an Accountant,(pictured below left) and Former Cllr Russell Tillson [Tory] Dymchurch & St Marys expense. This lead to a a full blown investigation.
So Cllr Peter Simmons made inappropriate expenses claims of £210.15. (This is the way the world ends not with a bang but a whimper – Elliot The Hollow Men)
Read the Report here it goes onto say:
“the Audit report makes it clear in section 5 that the system of checking Councillors claims had been relaxed in the period of time leading up to the current case and had resulted in only spot checks being made.These spot checks did not detect the issue with regard to the Subject Member’s claim forms and hence the size of the amount over claimed had increased with the passage of time.”
So the question is as we asked before in this blog Chain of Command who is responsible for the relaxing of checks on Cllrs expenses? And will ALL other Cllrs expenses be checked in the light that one Cllr was able to claim £210.15?
The report goes onto say
“The said report is very clear and comprehensive but did not venture into the political arena regarding former Councillor Tillson’s allegation that
“it was most likely the Leader [Cllr David Drury Monk] and his predecessor Former [Cllr Robert Bliss] who authorised him to use taxis”.
The report merely concluded that
“there is no clear audit trail regarding who authorised Councillor Tillson to travel by taxi”.
I have now had the opportunity of speaking to both the current Leader and the former Leader by telephone and can confirm that neither has a clear recollection concerning the allegation and cannot recall one way or the other whether a decision was made on the subject.”
Cllr Simmons states he was “ignorant” that by ticking the shared vehicle the 5p rate would be paid- he was paid more than the 5p. Now did he read or not read the claim form? It is important to remember Cllr Simmons (pictured below, second from left) is an ACCOUNTANT and that in that job, detail matters.
So Cllr Monk (picture above centre) and Former Cllr Bliss have a blank moment, which we, like you, will no doubt think is convenient. Also Former Cllr Tillson made allegations with regards to his former colleagues. With friends like that who needs …
So mitigation, and bad memories of Cllr Monk and Alderman Bliss have let both the sitting Cllr Peter Simmons and Former Cllr Tillson off the hook. But would the same happen to you if you over-claimed at work, the DWP, at Housing Benefit, the Tax office?
All we will say is that with a faltering memory perhaps it is time Cllr David Drury Monk stood down on health grounds as a precaution. We mean he has helped in achieving the largest debt in SDC history. Maybe he has forgotten that too.
The Solicitor who under took the Report was W.D.Milne, who owns W.D.Milne Ltd. It would appear that he received £6780.00 on the 19/01/16 for undertaking the report: see bottom of page 3 Payments Over 250.00 for Jan 2016