Accountability?

This took place almost a month ago but it’s worth repeating as it shows the level of arrogance from senior officers at Thurrock Council that us mere plebs are expected to tolerate without complaint. Once you’ve read this, hopefully you’ll understand why a) we do complain because we have every justification and b) we get a bit sweary sometimes!

On the evening of Monday 7 September, there was a meeting of Thurrock Council’s planning, transport, regeneration overview and scrutiny committee. This committee is now chaired by Cllr. John Allen (Independent) who represents the Tilbury St. Chads ward. On the agenda at the meeting was the massively over budget A13 widening and the botched and currently stalled rebuilding of Stanford-le-Hope railway station. This is just one of many articles published on our predecessor blog about Thurrock Council’s incompetence and lack of accountability regarding these projects: Thurrock Council and delayed infrastructure projects – there’s a pattern emerging and it ain’t good!

The chief executive officer, Lyn Carpenter and the finance director, Sean Clark were both invited to attend – neither of them showed up, either in real life or virtually via whatever conferencing software Thurrock Council are currently using. These two have a lot to answer for over the way the A13 widening and the Stanford-le-Hope railway station rebuilding have been handled. For both of them to fail to attend a scrutiny committee meeting to account for what happened is contemptuous. This is how it was covered by Thurrock Nub News: CEO slammed for disrespect to council committee after failing to show and answer questions about multi million pound overspends.

If Carpenter and Clark didn’t, for whatever reason, fancy being at the meeting in person, there was nothing stopping them logging onto their computers and facing the scrutiny committee virtually. For both, it would have been the shortest journey ever for a council meeting with minimum effort involved. The fact that neither of them showed up indicates two things: a) they possibly had something to hide and needed to get their story straight before facing the music and/or b) they’re simply carrying on the ignoble tradition of treating the residents of Thurrock with utter contempt.

It’s us council tax payers who pay the salaries of these senior officers. We pay them but it would appear they think they’ve no obligation whatsoever to be accountable to us, the residents of the borough they’re supposed to be serving. As we’ve written on more occasions than we care to remember, these senior officers and the ruling group councillors who theoretically oversee their work are supposed to be the servants of the residents of the borough. In theory that is, in a world that’s a lot closer to ideal than the one we currently inhabit. In reality, these charlatans think they’re above any form of accountability and can just do what they see fit.

They can only continue to get away with this for as long as people ignore them or simply comply. If we start to seriously take notice of what these people are doing and refuse to comply, we can start to bring about some serious, long overdue change.

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