Monday, 17 July 2017

Hemingbrough Parish Council meetings are highly unsatisfactory. (2)

Some of the actions at Hemingbrough may be unlawful.  Certainly, many are very nasty.

Let’s start with the Village Grass Cutting Contract.

The Parish Council has a single, three-part contract.  The first part covers St. Mary’s Church Cemetery and Walkway down to Oldways.  The Church reimburses the Parish Council for that work. The other two parts cover the village.

The experienced Clerk to the Council, Julie Leighton-Eshelby, who clerks for three other local Parish Councils, signed the Contract.  She signed it on 22nd February 2010.  It had no end date “after which the contract will be reviewed”!  

The Contract has been rolled-over by Councillors, most of whom probably don’t have a copy to enable them to understand what they are approving.  Remember, most of these people recently voted to assert ridiculously incorrect minutes prepared by the Clerk were accurate!  Councillors have approved an increase in charges for the Church grass cutting.  The Clerk confirmed it in her minutes.     

The Contract states, “The Contractor shall be responsible for the removal and the disposal of waste materials/grassing cuttings etc” which will be music to the ears of complaining, graveside mourners and relatives of the deceased in wet weather.       

The Chairman, who admits to having a copy of the contract, told Councillors the Contractor hadn’t asked for any increase in charges.  If the Contractor didn’t ask for an increase, then who on the Council proposed and seconded an increase? And WHY?  The Clerk must have the answers.

The Chairman led Councillors to believe the Contractor was NOT responsible for picking up the grass-cuttings.

Whilst it is not the duty of the Clerk to stop Councillors making prats of themselves, why didn’t Mrs. Leighton-Eshelby correct the Chairman’s false assertion about the grass-cuttings?  Why didn’t she offer advice to Councillors about the correct way to contract for services above a specified value?

Did the Council’s Internal Auditor get a full briefing from the Clerk about the nature of the rolling contract of seemingly perpetual duration above a specified value?  She didn’t mention a problem with the payments in 2016/2017 for the Council’s largest contract despite work not done!    

Why did I have to provide a copy of the Contract to the Secretary of the Parochial Church Council in the absence of one from the Parish Council?  Why didn’t the Clerk advise Councillors about the dubious propriety of a Chairman encouraging a Contractor to ask for an increase in charges on the public purse?

Unbelievable?  Watch the following YouTube Video of the Chairman, with the Clerk by his side, briefing largely disinterested Councillors!

Chairman Strelczenie tells grass cutting Contractor to ask for more public money!