“She’s a fcuking menace” is how one senior council officer described the Chief Executive of Folkestone & Hythe District Council, Dr Susan Priest (pictured). Other descriptions are not so flattering, and for the sake of decency we can’t publish what other senior council officers have said.
Underpaying Town and Parish Councils the amount they should receive in Community Infrastructure Levy payments, not following due process, and disregarding Council pay policy are other issues which have all come to fore during the last few days.
So where do we begin. Well at the beginning of course.
At the Audit & Governance Committee held on Tuesday 28 Sept, not a single Cllr bothered to ask how much Town & Parish Councils had been underpaid regarding the CIL money they should receive.
On that Committee sits Cllr Ann Berry (Con), Cllr Laura Davison (Lab) Cllr Rebecca Shoob (Green) Cllr Terence Mullard (UKIP) and the Chairman of the Committee Cllr Philip Martin (Con). Not one of them asked how much money the Town & Parish Councils were short changed due to the miscalculation of the CIL money, made by the planning department.
This money allows town and parish councils within the district to undertake infrastructure provision, improvement, replacement, operation or maintenance of infrastructure, or anything else that is concerned with addressing demands that development places on their area. This gives communities freedom and power to spend the money on a wide range of things, in consultation with the community.
Town & Parish Council’s must demonstrate consultation with the local community. The consultations must be inclusive and meaningful, and allow all groups to engage with the CIL process. The process should focus on ways of reaching out to all members of the community (particularly those who are less vocal or more vulnerable). But of course, Town & Parish Councils in our district all too often fail to consult their communities. Given CIL payments were introduced in 2016, the failure to consult by our elected Town & Parish Cllrs has been ongoing for five years and further demonstrates Cllrs at all tiers of local government are not following due process, their own policies. or national guidance as set out in National Planning Policy Guidance. It’s not just the “fcuking menance” who’s failing to do her £136,714 paid job properly.
Coming back to the District Council, last night at full council, Princes Parade was raised in a motion brought by Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr Lesley Whybrow (Green). Cllr Prater (Lib Dem) talking for the motion, mentioned due process. Now we know the Council has not followed due process with regards to the Folkestone Seafront Development.
In our blog post on the 29th Jan titled
It’s clear due process was NOT followed, according to the Councils own planning conditions, as can be found on the planning portal.
When it suits the Council, they’ll ignore what they want, as evidence in the public domain corroborates.
Also at full Council last night Cllr Connor McConville (Lab) raised the issue the Council had ignored its own pay and severance policy.
In Report A/21/13 it states
Each Director was appointed on the first point of the pay scale, namely £99,577 p.a., thus below the £100,000 threshold. However each post holder is entitled to a car allowance of £6,359 which means that the total salary package exceeds the threshold and the matter should therefore have been reported to Council at an appropriate opportunity.
The Council’s Pay Policy Statement (last approved by the Council on 21 July 2021, minute 21) contains the following paragraphs:-
“13. Full Council will be offered the opportunity to vote on salary packages, at the time of an employee’s appointment, which are greater than £100,000 a year. Salary packages include the annual salary, bonuses, fees or allowances routinely payable to the appointee and benefits in kind to which the officer is entitled as a result of their employment.”
Report A/21/13 goes onto say
This report sets out the circumstances where, regrettably, the Statement was not complied with.
Full council were not given the opportunity to vote on the chosen one’s salary (Director of Place – Ewan Green) by passing the policy and procedure, they themselves set.
So given all the evidence in the public domain, is it any wonder many residents believe Folkestone & Hythe District Council, led by the “fcuking menace“, believe they are a law unto themselves.
What all this demonstrates to The Shepway Vox Team is the Peter Principle, and the Dunning Kruger effect are well evidenced, but as always we’ll leave you to ponder that.
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime