There are three tiers of Local Government in Kent. They are:
It is the last we wish to ruminate about today. But before we do, you must bear in mind the only difference between a Town Council, and a Parish Council, is Town Councils have Mayors. So Lydd, New Romney, Hythe & Folkestone, are all Town Councils, and all have Mayors.
Town/Parish Cllrs are NOT paid.
Recently Folkestone Town Cllr Dylan Jeffrey (Con) (pictured) , who is also a KCC Cllr, was gifted a helicopter flight across London. He flew from Lympne in a helicopter supplied by Alcaline Aviation, who are owned by Alcaline UK Ltd.
The company is registered at Alcaline House Units S-V, Lympne Industrial Estate, Lympne, CT21 4LR. The person of significant control of the company is Lorenzo Zaccheo, the father of David Zaccheo, who, donated £3,000 to the local Conservative party’selection campaign prior to the 12 December 2019 election.
Alcaline Aviation donated significantly to the last two Folkestone & Hythe Conservative dinners; according to senior official Conservative Cllrs; one of which was attended by Cllr David Wimble.
As an aside, the Carlton Club is a private members’ club in St James’s, London. It was the original home of the Conservative Party before the creation of Conservative Central Office.
Moving on, Cllr Danny Brook (Con), and the former Mayor of Folkestone, Cllr Michelle Keutenius (Lab), have both failed to attend meetings for more than six months in this year – 2022. As such this means they’ve now been disqualified, as Town Cllrs. Both remain District Cllrs and were paid £5,811 and £11,134 respectively, in 2021/22.
Starting with Cllr Dany Brook, he has form when it comes to not attending meetings for more than six months. On the 22 June 2020, the town clerk posted a disqualification notice.
On the 6 May 2021, Cllr Danny Brook was re-elected with 1,119 votes. The fees for the Town Council’s election were between £8-9,000, according to an FoI to the Town Council.
Then on the 5 Dec 2022, Cllr Danny Brook was disqualified, due to not attending for six months, for the second time.
There cannot be another election before May 2023, because Section 89 of the Local Government Act 1972, means no election can be requested for a vacancy as it has occurred within the 6 months of the councillor’s regular retirement date. [read next election date]
The Town Council may wish to fill this vacancy in the interim period by way of co-option. This will not be decided until Jan 11, by the Full Town Council. If they proceed with co-option, they’ll be no cost to Council Tax payers, as they’ll be no election.
Onto the former Mayor Michelle Keutinius, who stated on social media in the last few days:
Yes she apologises, and rightly so, then goes onto to give some politic spin. She also says:
my place of work have tried to be accommodating, but it’s not within their gift due to the nature of the job to let carers off regularly. [Cllr Keutinius is a Domicilary Care Worker)
With a supplement of £11,134 from District Council, her own income, and that of any partner, being disqualified from Town Council, does not affect her “family’s income“, as Town Cllrs are not paid an allowance. To use this is somewhat disingenuous. “Truth is hard, propaganda is cheap.”
The town’s coat of arms makes mention of Salubritas et Amoenitas in Latin. Translated it means health & beauty. We honestly believe there is nothing inherently morally healthy about the Cllrs actions. Nor do we believe it casts Folkestone in a beautiful light.
As always, given the evidence before you, and all publicly available, you can make up your own mind about these three Town Councillors.
The inclusion of a person or entity in this blog post is not intended to suggest or imply that they have engaged in illegal or improper conduct.
The Shepway Vox Team
The Velvet Voices of Voxatiousness