WAS REES RUNNING A BULLYING CULTURE FROM THE TOP AT BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL?
Why has the council’s chief lawyer and Bundred crook, Shahzia “Dim” Daya started threatening councillors with legal action if they discuss the recently departed council Chief Exec Anna “Big Wedge” Klonowski with the press?
Total mystery surrounds the sudden RESIGNATION of the Reverend Rees’s representative on Earth and chief bag carrier. Big Wedge, barely six months into a role filling her boots with extraordinary sums of public cash while leading an inane “improvement journey” at the council quit on Monday 4 September for “family reasons” taking a payoff reputedly in the region of £70k. What for?
This, so the story goes, is because Big Wedge suddenly discovered her parents were seriously ill and she needed to to look after them. We can only sympathise with this SUDDEN and SIMULTANEOUS deterioration of these executive parents, both of whose health apparently collapsed in the six months since Big Wedge began her latest well remunerated public sector “improvement journey”.
No doubt Big Wedge watchers are pleased that she’s continued to display her remarkably ordinary intellect and way with a tired old cliche to the very end. Isn’t quitting for “family reasons” a hackneyed old code in political circles for “JUMPING BEFORE I’M PUSHED“? So what has Big Wedge really been up to?
Creating and running a systematic BULLYING CULTURE at the top of the council is what. We understand that in early September a letter began circulating claiming that Big Wedge had personally bullied 14 Service Directors out of Bristol City Council over the last year and had then paid them off to keep them silent.
Intrigued, a local reporter called the council’s PR department where they were greeted with barely-concealed PANIC at the mention of Big Wedge and bullying. The reporter was promised they would receive a call back with a statement. Obviously this never came.
Instead, for the rest of the week, local newspaper editors received regular calls from various senior bosses and PR types at the council BEGGING them not to run any bullying stories in relation to Big Wedge. Then – after a weekend, apparently considering her position – Big Wedge announced the following Monday morning she was quitting “for family reasons”. Coincidence or wot?
What’s even stranger, however, is why the Reverend and Big Wedge ever thought bullying bosses out of the organisation and paying large compensation packages was necessary? (Were they getting a kick out of bullying their staff?) Because didn’t they have a brand new INDEPENDENT REPORT (kept secret from us) into their managers’ conduct around financial management in 2015 – 16 and the unlawful budget set in 2016?
So why wasn’t this report used as the basis for DISCIPLINARY ACTION against these bosses? This would have saved us a fortune and ensured none of these crooks ever worked in local government again. Surely a win-win?
Or maybe this secret report contains some rather more uncomfortable facts that need to remain secret? For example, Klonowski started working in a SENIOR ROLE in finance at Bristol City Council in 2015. What exactly did she know about HIDDEN DEBTS and UNLAWFUL BUDGETS?
Similarly, council lawyer Shahzia “Dim” Daya, who’s still got her feet firmly under the table at the Counts Louse and is now threatening councillors all over again, OVERSAW the council budget meeting in 2016 where an unlawful budget was set with her FULL KNOWLEDGE. Alison “Three Jobs” Comley – still raking in a six figure sum – also knew all about the unlawful budget, according to PUBLISHED MINUTES, and she continues in post trashing parks and unlawfully refusing to house the homeless.
Then there’s the pair of BENT CHIEF INTERNAL AUDITORS who knew lots and lots about unachieved savings and inaccurate reports to councillors. They, too, are still collecting generous salaries for their mendacity and failure.
Isn’t it time the Reverend published his secret new report into his bent bosses so we can find out what’s been going on inside his useless council and we can sort it out if he can’t?
NB. Any legal threats in relation to this article to the Bristolian’s email please.
The Reverend Rees’s response to the Bundred Report into the council’s MULTIPLE FINANCIAL FAILINGS, being personally overseen by his chronically underperforming donkey of a new Chief Exec, Anna “Big Wedge” Klonowski, is FALLING APART before it’s even started.
On Tuesday – in the middle of a General Election when politicians are looking the other way – Ms Big Wedge published her SEMI-LITERATE, ‘Response to the Bundred Review’ for the Cabinet to sign-off next week. Page 4 of Big Wedge’s rambling error-strewn drivel tells us:
“S[enior]L[eadership]T[eam] have agreed and the Chief Executive has recently reinforced the need for reports rather than presentations to be used as the basis of discussions and decisions.”
So come Thursday and Ms Klonwoski’s incompetent legal boss and Monitoring Officer, Shahzia “Dim” Daya – who personally oversaw and signed off the UNLAWFUL BUDGET of 2016 at the heart of the controversy – published her own report to councillors, ‘Scrutiny Structures and New Ways of Working – Hothouse Outcomes’.
This report is just one page long and tells councillors, “Full details of the outcomes of the Scrutiny review will be provided by Members VERBALLY at the meeting.”
So much for “the need for REPORTS rather than PRESENTATIONS to be used as the basis of discussions and decisions” then. Do the new rules not apply to lazy and bent Monitoring Officers?
The significance of all this is that councillors simply did not have the necessary ACCESS and INFORMATION they required to scrutinise what their bent managers were up to in 2015 – 17. This new scrutiny review is supposed to correct that.
Although it looks to us like councillors are being blatantly set up to fail all over again by exactly the same council bosses who conned them last time.
The Reverend Rees told long-suffering journalists daft enough to attend his stillborn ‘CITY OFFICE’ launch in November that he planned to tackle “inequalities within leadership roles” by changing the people who are awarded the top jobs.
“This will mean having leaders from HARTCLIFFE and AVONMOUTH as well as Clifton”, the Reverend assured an audience invited, organised and managed by his old, white, highly paid, Cambridge educated right hand man and personally appointed “leader”, council Chief Exec, Stephen “OAP” Hughes from, er, Birmingham.
Who thinks Hughes could even find Hartcliffe on a map?
Lady Gaga’s replacement has arrived … And it looks like we’re in for a treat (if you enjoy bent local government bosses)
“THE REVEREND” Marvin Rees continues his fight on the frontline of the battle against rising inequality by paying a scandal-hit “retired” local government officer and EX-PUBLIC SCHOOLBOY £1,000 a day to run his council on a PART TIME, four day a week basis.
The lucky recipient of this absurd generosity is dubious little shit, Stephen “OAP” Hughes. A bloke with bad teeth and an ill fitting suit who used to be Chief Exec at Birmingham City Council until he scarpered in February 2014 to become – wait for it … “A strategic consultant’ (surely “unemployed”? Ed).
As with all these dodgy local authority FAT CAT bosses, OAP left Birmingham under a cloud with an undisclosed fat pay off disguised as a pension for his lead role in a botched cover-up of the so-called ‘TROJAN HORSE’ affair.
This SORDID little tale finally became national news in 2014 after teachers had spent over a year raising concerns to Hughes’ council about various school governing bodies in Birmingham that were trying to introduce strict Islamic principles into education.
After considerable and lengthy dithering by OAP’s council, the story finally broke in BIRMINGHAM MAIL in March 2014 – just after Hughes had done a runner and “retired” to the private sector!
With the Birmingham Mail driving things forward, a leaked document soon came to light claiming DIRTY TRICKS were being used to oust non-Muslim staff in some schools in an operation called ‘Trojan Horse’.
And with Hughes out of the way, FOUR separate inquiries were immediately launched into the allegations, including Birmingham City Council and Department of Education probes. Ofsted also conducted inspections at 15 Birmingham schools.
Several teachers forced out of schools involved in the Trojan Horse scandal came forward to the press and the investigations to complain that they were offered SECRET SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS by OAP’s council to shut up them up about their allegations.
The teachers had all raised SIMILAR CONCERNS that governing bodies were trying to introduce strict Islamic principles into schools.
The government report into the scandal found that there was a view among teachers that OAP’s city council preferred to GET RID of teachers rather than confront dubious school governing bodies.
Meanwhile Ofsted immediately put five schools OAP had protected in SPECIAL MEASURES after damning inspections found kids were not being protected from extremism or prepared for life in modern Britain.
OAP’s response to this PERSONAL DEBACLE was to tell the press that “the Government and Ofsted had over-reacted” to an anonymous document which was “designed to stir up racial and religious antagonism”.
Although he had never bothered to actually launch any kind of investigation, which might have backed up (or not) his UNORTHODOX VIEW of events.
Perry Barr’s Labour MP Khalid Mahmood was less than impressed with Hughes excuses and told the Birmingham Mail “[Hughes] is only interested in COVERING HIS BACK” before asking, “Why did he DO NOTHING?”
Now this nasty piece of work – who will openly fuck up whistleblowers and honest public sector workers and protect extremists and religious nutters to keep his HUGE INCOME rolling in – is running Bristol.
Looks like some fun times ahead …
Our dear old friends at the council’s in-house financial watchdog, the AUDIT COMMITTEE, managed to excel even themselves in the totally-fucking-useless-and-incompetent stakes at their meeting in March to look at Green Capital spending.
Long touted as the moment that Bristolians would get the answers to their questions about what happened to the £8M OF PUBLIC MONEY spent on a year long jolly for the city’s ultra-privileged and their mates, the meeting was ineptly chaired by Labour’s Mark “Ironic Name” Brain. A man who increasingly resembles some sort of special needs case rather than a senior local politician.
Under Ironic Name Brain’s careful stewardship, members of the public were invited to ask their Green Capital questions to THIN AIR while direct questions from councillors on how public money was spent by the Green Capital’s private company, Bristol 2015 Ltd, also went UNANSWERED. Because nobody from Green Capital bothered to turn up for the first hour and a half of the agenda item!
However,Bristol 2015 Ltd chief exec, Nicola “LADY GAGA” Yates did finally put in an appearance but only after Deputy Mayor Geoff “Cods” Gollop admitted to our feisty and fearless independent financial watchdogs that he had personally undermined their authority and had instructed Bristol 2015 Ltd NOT TO ATTEND the meeting that he was only an invited guest at!
This blatant SABOTAGE by the mayor’s office of an independent committee of councillors did result in a mild rebuke to Gollop from Ironic Name. Although the obvious action of halting the DERANGED, HALF-ARSED MEETING immediately and arranging a proper public bollocking for Gollop and a proper meeting to investigate Bristol 2015 Ltd appeared way beyond Ironic Name’s abilities. Instead he ploughed on. Overseeing a farce.
Gaga’s performance, once she turned up, was undoubtedly the STAR COMIC TURN. The £192k a year council chief deciding to insist that she was only attending as Chief Exec of Bristol 2015 Ltd and couldn’t possibly answer any questions about the council she’s in charge of. Instead she redirected questions about the council to a HAPLESS MINION.
Meanwhile any questions directed by councillors to Gaga about Bristol 2015 Ltd were BATTED AWAY. “I don’t hold the data in my head,” she waffled. Neither did she have any data on a piece of paper, because, she claimed, she didn’t know about the meeting in advance and had only decided to pop in after seeing the meeting being webcast!
This RIDICULOUS CHARADE, performed under their noses by their most highly paid boss, passed without comment from the half-wits on the Audit Committee. And, after around two hours of aimless fucking about, the committee blandly concluded that “LESSONS NEEDED TO BE LEARNED“. Although what lessons or how the council will learn them is anybody’s guess as they didn’t bother to say.
All this meeting really demonstrated is that the only bigger waste of time and money than Bristol’s Green Capital is Bristol City Council’s Audit Committee. What are these wankers for?
The revelation that council Chief Exec, Nicola “LADY GAGA” Yates earned £18k in wages from the Bristol 2015 Ltd company at the rate of £60 an hour may prove to be very bad news for this beleaguered money-grabbing council boss.
There’s already widespread OUTRAGE that Gaga scooped herself an extra £18k of public money from Bristol 2015 while cheekily trousering £193k from the public purse this year for a job paid at £160k. Now we’ve discovered that her contract of employment specifically PREVENTS her from doing another job or retaining earnings without the “EXPRESS CONSENT” of the council.
Gaga’s contractual obligations are contained in the Joint Negotiating Committee for Local Authority Chief Executives Conditions of Service Handbook. And here’s the first thing it says:
3. WHOLE-TIME SERVICE
The chief executive shall devote his or her whole-time service to the work of the council and shall not engage in any other business or take up any other additional appointment without the express consent of the council. He or she shall not subordinate his or her duty as chief executive to his or her private interests or put himself or herself in a position where his or her duty and private interests conflict.
In other words, Gaga should not be taking further employment without the “express consent” of councillors. Where is that consent for her role at Bristol 2015 Ltd? It also says if she does take on any other employment it should not CONFLICT with her role as Chief Exec of the council.
For example, she should not be putting herself in a position where she’s WITHHOLDING accounts and ignoring the Local Government Transparency Code on behalf of Bristol 2015 Ltd, who privately employ her. Because this openly CONFLICTS with her duty as the chief executive of the council where she needs to be robustly upholding this code on our behalf and ensuring all public expenditure is properly accounted for.
The explanation currently emerging from the Mayor’s office over Gaga’s employment and earnings at Bristol 2015 Ltd reeks of BULLSHIT. The Mayors sidekick-in-chief, Deputy Mayor Geoff “” Gollop provided a long-winded explanation of Gaga’s conduct to the council’s Audit Committee last Friday.
The dodgy Tory accountant blustered that Gaga had to be paid a salary in order to demonstrate her role of Chief Exec at Bristol 2015 Ltd was independent of her role as Chief Exec of Bristol City Council. Gollop effectively seemed to claim that paying £1k a month into Gaga’s bank account made any conflict of interest she might have disappear in A PUFF OF SMOKE. Nonsense. Gaga’s conflict of interest cannot just vanish in exchange for cash.
The correct practice should be that at any Bristol 2015 Ltd meetings where business of the council is discussed, Gaga should LEAVE the meeting. Similarly at any meeting of the council where Bristol 2015 Ltd is discussed, Gaga should LEAVE the meeting, which makes it pretty much impossible for Gaga to perform both Chief Exec roles. Any claim by Fergo and Gollop that greasing her palm with cash somehow makes it possible is a load of BENT BOLLOCKS of the highest order.
And it doesn’t stop here. There’s some further dodgy practice around Gaga’s Bristol 2015 job. Gaga’s contract also states:
8. INCLUSIVE SALARIES
Salaries shall be deemed to be inclusive, and all other fees and emoluments, unless they are covered by Paragraph 9 (returning officer, etc.) or the authority expressly agrees that they shall be retainedby the officer, shall be paid by the officer into the council’s accounts.
In other words, any extra salary payable to Gaga for any other work she does SHOULD GO TO THE COUNCIL not to her. Unless “the authority expressly agrees”. Where is this agreement from councillors? Looks like Gaga owes us £18k then.
There it is then. At least two occasions when Gaga’s BREACHED HER CONTRACT plus 18 months of undeclared and unaddressed conflicts of interest between Bristol City Council and Bristol 2015 Ltd she’s done NOTHING about.
Is it time for some disciplinary action down at the Counts Louse?
Both the city council pay policy reports to councillors in 2015-16 and 2016-17 insist council chief Nicola “Lady Gaga” Yates’ salary is £160K A YEAR. This means she should earn ‘only’ up to ten times the amount of the lowest paid council workers on the living wage of £15,900.
This 10:1 highest to lowest wage ratio is supposed to be official council policy as laid down by the people we elect. Strange, then, that the last senior officers pay report published on the council’s website in December 2015 stated that Gaga actually earned £193K A YEAR!
This is up from £180k in April 2015 and up from the publicly agreed wage of £160k we were told she would earn when she started in April 2013. Gaga appears to have unilaterally awarded herself a SECRET 20 PER CENT PLUS pay rise outside of her own council’s written policy then.
The FOUL STENCH surrounding this woman and her easy access to public money is compounded by the fact she’s now been forced to admit she also earned £12k a year at an hourly rate of £60.00 as the Chief Exec of Bristol 2015 Ltd. This means her earnings may have topped £204k last year! Not bad for someone who ‘only’ earns £160k a year according to all the formal council documents on pay being fobbed off on us.
Look out too for that useless trade union worker and chair of the council’s Human Resources Committee Labour’s Mike ““ARSEHOLE” Wollacott at the Full Council Meeting next Tuesday. He’s adding his own cheap and nasty fragrance to the general stink of ill-managed public money, lies, greed and corruption wafting around the Council House these days.
Wollacott will openly LIE to councillors and to the Bristolian public on Tuesday and assure us all – on the record – that Gaga only earns £160k a year. Thus he can maintain his LIE that the council’s highest earner only earns ten times the salary of the lowest earner.
And before Wollacott or any of his mates start sending us wanky legal threats, he has already published his LIE in the report that he’s presenting to the Full Council on Tuesday recommending councillors give the bosses their 20 per cent pay rise.
Why’s this trade unionist openly LYING to councillors, his staff and the public about senior bosses’ salaries? Why’s he pretending he’s helping the low paid at the council while simultaneously hiding the real salary of Gaga that just happens to make a mockery of his party’s own living wage policy?
The whole lot of ’em – bosses and councillors – are taking the piss out of us, their staff and especially the low paid.