Thursday, 28 May 2015
Belligerent, curmudgeonly Chairman Drew returns to the ranks as Councillor Jan Strelczenie takes over the Chair, and the legacy of Drew, McCann and their ‘Mute Newt’ Mates - Senior, Pickering, Harrison and Sedman – aptly described in the Internal Auditor’s report.
Monday, 25 May 2015
Friday, 22 May 2015
Thursday, 21 May 2015
I changed the colour scheme of the Bear Garden Blog after the election results were declared to match what I thought was a new mood of optimism. Tonight’s Parish Council was exactly how it should be, with courtesy, consideration and the promise of progress.
The experienced Jan Strelczenie was unanimously elected Chairman of the Council with Bob Proctor also unanimously elected as the Vice-chairman.
You could hear the sucking in of breath when the Clerk revealed the past Parish Council chaired by Richard Drew and Kenny McCann had left +£54, 000 in the bank (31 March 2015). As one person muttered, the ‘Mute Newts’ did nowt for residents, so spent nowt!
"Those who play the game do not see as clearly as those who watch."
I would like to reassure Councillors, especially the new ones that my cameras are not meant to embarrass or inhibit you and that when honest mistakes happen, you will not be blogged.
They can carry your good work into local homes, and that is to your benefit. I hope you will forget the cameras are there, but do remember the Councillor who gave his partner self-serving versions of what goes on at Council meetings, then she saw differently when watching YouTube.
The cameras see far more than you can. They see, for example, the numerous interventions of the visiting Councillors without the Chairman’s invitation, especially when sensitivities flourish. They highlight people playing silly buggers and deviating from the well-known national rules, and are a public record of fact and continuity. They can improve the quality of meetings for Councillors and residents.
Watch a smart-mouthed Chairman http://bit.ly/1HtOoKL and a Clerk with years of ‘experience’ still not sure in April 2015 of a basic ‘Named Vote’ rule http://bit.ly/1FBiI8A she has used many times before! This is unacceptable.
Hemingbrough Parish Council became one of the first Councils in England to experience the new arrangements when I walked into the meeting on 21 August 2014, after a two-year absence, with a camcorder, camera, voice recorder and tripod.
The silly games of previous years were over! If Councillors want to bugger about, their antics can be blogged and broadcast on YouTube and Twitter before they go to bed that night. Thankfully, the new arrangements started a new era so everything that had gone before can be ‘water under the bridge’, if people are so inclined.
One experienced old warhorse was sufficiently concerned by my camcorder he told a local meeting how inhibited he felt. There was no need, as long as he acted reasonably and accepted that Council Meetings are for the benefit of both Councillors and Residents.
It is unacceptable, for example, for residents wanting to hear the session on local planning applications to be confronted by a cacophony of chatter and laughter from Councillors when they must keep quiet themselves. It is even worse when visiting Councillors wander round making tea and chatting to their mates and the odd resident. They would not try that in Selby District Council meetings. Why did the Hemingbrough Chairman and Clerk allow it?
Our Parish Council meeting is not a drop-in cafe. It is the first tier of local government spending our money. A competent Chairperson and a knowledgeable Parish Clerk should be there to guide and help - if they do not, they will be on YouTube and Twitter.
Sunday, 17 May 2015
Hemingbrough promises to be a better place with a new Parish Council team pledged to be of strong moral principles and better communication with residents and council having the opportunity of working together.
The first time to meet the team will be at the open Annual Residents Meeting next Thursday evening at the Village Institute at 7.00.
The new team will not have completed the formalities that make them Councillors by then. Parish council rules will not apply so they can talk informally, as individuals, about their busy and interesting programme and answer questions.
National events have overwhelmed this week’s national Press - no coalition, Miliband, Clegg, Farage, Murphy, McCluskey, Carswell – and our village grapevine has been busy too.
8 to 3! What will the 3 do? What do the voting numbers mean? Liz Carstairs 545 votes, didn’t she do well, shows the strength of the ‘schools’ vote; Roland Chilvers 460 votes for his knowledge, experience and commitment, he’s still working on the Memorial Rose Garden at his age; Keith Terry, Les Stebbings, Forbes Davidson, new council faces, a new approach; Bob Proctor, an ‘incomer’. Maybe we will get things done now. What is Glenis going to do? Wonder who will be the parish chairperson? Should get rid of the squabbles. Maybe we should not have been so complacent. At least they have some ideas. (And some unmentionable comments!)
Was it only seven days ago when Mary Weastell, Selby District Council Acting Returning Officer and Chief Executive, Assistant Chief Executive at North Yorkshire County Council, Governor of Selby College, Chair of the North Yorkshire Community Safety Partnership (the speed camera people?) and the lead North Yorkshire District Chief Executive representative on the sub-regional Housing Board, woke on the Sunday morning to find her name on Twitter and elsewhere because Hemingbrough Parish Council results had been ‘declared’ at 3.45 on Friday afternoon, so she said, but they wouldn’t be announced on the Selby Council website to the candidates, their supporters and the residents until sometime on Monday? That must have prompted a flurry of activity to get them published on Sunday afternoon. There is nothing quite like Twitter to encourage those in the public eye to do the job we expect of them.
So what about the 3 - Harrison, Sedman, Drew? They campaigned on a platform of ‘You voted for us before, Vote for us again. We want to run the council.’ They offered no plan. Their election leaflet sounded like small ideas from small people.
Although the Parish Council is the first tier of local Government, there should not be any Opposition. Yes, there are different views to be honestly debated, collectively decided and then implemented for the Community with our money. No local feuds, no ingrained petty squabbles or tit-for-tat voting based on past arguments and sleights in the village.
It is not as simple as that. The core of the new council Team is five Councillors from the Parish of Hemingbrough Historical Heritage Society. They may take part in discussions about the Memorial Rose Garden and the ‘Oldways’ but may not vote on resolutions. That leaves the voting Council Members for such issues balanced at 3-3 each.
So what will Harrison, Drew and Sedman do? Will they join the rest of the Team that received resounding support from residents, or will they continue with the ’Opposition’ of the past four years? Will they do what we expect of them? The camcorder will be there to observe.
Perhaps they could start with an act of reconciliation. How much would it have cost the Council to remove and clear the site of the old filling station? The Council has bloated funds from the four years they were in power. Surely, they know what to do!
Wednesday, 13 May 2015
I recognise a blocked email when I see one.
Never mind, James 'Jim' Deans. I left a copy at the ‘Access Selby’ office this afternoon to ensure you get it! Remember you are one of my two elected representatives in Selby District.
(Click this image to enlarge it.)
Monday, 11 May 2015
Democracy is alive in our village.
CONTESTED PARISH COUNCIL ELECTIONS (6)
Brayton, Hambleton, Hemingbrough, Selby (North), Selby (South) Selby (West)
UNCONTESTED PARISH COUNCIL ELECTIONS (63)
Parishes where there were fewer Candidates than available seats so everyone putting forward their name was ‘elected’ without a contest!
4 Year term. 11 Council Seats. 15 Candidates
CARSTAIRS, Elizabeth 545 Votes
CHILVERS, Roland Bernard 460
TERRY, Keith William 443
STEBBINGS, Leslie John 442
HARRISON, Glenis Mary 414
PROCTER, Robert 397
DAVIDSON, Forbes Thomas 395
STRELCZENIE, Jan 393
SEDMAN, John Stephen 376
KINSELLA, Edward John 375
DREW, Richard Haldane 370
McCANN, Kenneth William 350 (Not Elected)
SENIOR, Martin Gregory 342 (Not Elected)
PARKIN, Victor William 323 (Not Elected)
PICKERING, Neil Charles 285 (Not Elected)
I wonder what kind of arrogant thinking has pervaded the Executive Offices of Selby District Council when the Acting Returning Officer and Chief Executive, Mary Weastell and her ‘top team’ can approve the haughty, self-important-decision to bugger off home on Friday afternoon after “declaring” the results of the District’s Parish Council Elections at 3.45 p.m. and then deciding the hard-working candidates and their supporters and the local residents would have to wait until this morning (Monday) to know the results.
I imagine Mary Weastell and her team have already honed a mealy-mouthed, grudging, insincere apology full of weasel words to justify their pompous actions and subsequent reversal after being shamed on Twitter to get the results published on Sunday afternoon.
Was Selby District Council the only one in Britain to behave in such a conceited way?
Sunday, 10 May 2015
4 Year term. 11 Council Seats. 15 Candidates
Congratulations to all those favoured by the residents.
Liz Carstairs - ELECTED
Roland Chilvers - ELECTED
Forbes Davidson - ELECTED
Richard Drew - ELECTED
Glenis Harrison - ELECTED
Eddie Kinsella - ELECTED
Bob Procter - ELECTED
John Sedman - ELECTED
Les Stebbings - ELECTED
Keith Terry - ELECTED
Hemingbrough feels like a better place already.
There is much to be done. I have heard there is a contingent of residents that would be willing to step forward for co-option if a vacancy arises. That is also good news.
Thursday, 7 May 2015
05:16 7 May 2015.
Will it be a bright new day for the village? Eleven Parish Council seats are at stake.
The choice seems simple from reading the election leaflets.
‘The Village Memorial and Oldways Crew’
Nine residents “Pledged to be of strong moral principles; honesty and decency in Parish Council Affairs with a programme for better Communication with residents, the Village Entrance, Village Memorial Garden, ‘Oldways’, using the Precept for Improvements and Services, Transport, Local Issues, Hagg Lane Green, Accountability, Consultation and Working Together”
The nine candidates “fully support the current Official Investigation into the Probity of the Parish Council dealings with the Hagg Lane Green Group.”
Liz Carstairs, Roland Chilvers, Forbes Davidson, Eddie Kinsella, Vic Parkin, Bob Proctor, Les Stebbings, Jan Strelczenie, Keith Terry.
‘The Hagg Lane Green Group’
Six residents who controlled the Council proposals by their bloc voting for the past four years and who want “to run the Parish Council” for the next four years with not a single item of Improvement in their election literature, just a commitment “to keep the precept at the same level by using the reserves accrued” by their inaction.
The Hagg Lane Green Group denied the Village Memorial Rose Garden even a tiny donation despite a formal request from a resident for them to do so! Personal animosities got in their way.