Tag Archives: Craig Cheney

BLANK CHEQUE FOR BENT BOSSES?

Soppy flow chart: where does it say what happens if you want to give a failed boss £100k?

While the Reverend Rees and his confused finance apprentice, Craig “Crapita” Cheney, cart their ridiculous Tory cuts bandwagon around the city’s neighbourhoods insisting services must be SLASHED to balance the books, their managers seem to have written themselves a BLANK CHEQUE for their excessive redundancy and pay-off expectations.

Figures recently released to the council’s Human Resources Committee show that of the 398 redundancies signed off by council Service Directors last year, 56 (15 per cent) of these were for sums in EXCESS of £60k. In total these 56 lucky people received £6,779,990 between them, which is 56 per cent of the total £11,929,765 in redundancy cash paid out by Bristol City Council last year.

Of the 56 lucky recipients of this FABULOUS LARGESSE by us, just SIX earned an average wage or below. The other 50 were on supervisory or managerial grades earning in excess of £30k a year. 21 (five per cent) especially lucky bosses received six figure pay-offs, sharing around £2.5m between them (22 per cent of the total paid out).

How strange this all is if you consult the council’s VOLUNTARY SEVERANCE POLICY, which tells us:

“The level of payment will be based upon ‘actual earnings’ to a maximum of £723 per week. The maximum payment that can be made to any employee is £43,380 which is the equivalent of 60 weeks’ pay.”

This ‘cap’ means no member of staff at the council can receive a redundancy payment of more than £43,380 . So what’s happened? Why has a democratically agreed policy been IGNORED by council service directors, who – according to the information handed to councillors on the HR committee – signed off these huge amounts of money to their friends and colleagues with no democratic oversight?

This latest OUTRAGE comes just days after Rees and Cheney were forced to admit that the council is now employing 36 more bosses on £50k plus salaries than a year ago at a cost to us of at least £2million a year. So not only have FAILED BOSSES – many of whom were involved in allowing councillors to set an unlawful budget in 2016 – been rewarded with excessive sums of redundancy money they are not entitled to, Rees and Cheney have employed even MORE bosses to replace them at MORE cost.

Why make one lot of bosses redundant at HUGE COST to save money and then employ even MORE? Is this even legal? If the posts are redundant then there should be no need to employ replacements and there should be less bosses and a lower salary bill.

We understand that councillors on the Audit Committee have queried with the HR Committee whether the Council’s Voluntary Severance Policy was “CORRECTLY IMPLEMENTED“. HR bosses have blandly and evasively brushed this off, responding: “to the best of officers’ knowledge, all exits were approved in line with the process set out at Appendix B.”

‘Appendix B’ is reproduced above. It is a soppy little flow chart that conveniently avoids legal and policy matters and neglects to refer in any way to the VOLUNTARY SEVERANCE POLICY and the ceiling on large redundancy payments or to the process for lifting this ceiling. Were these payments just signed off by Service Directors and HR middle managers as their chart suggests? On whose authority?

Oh dear. Do we have another financial scandal engineered by senior council bosses already? Shall we get Bundred back?

BULLY CHENEY’S LAME SPIN MACHINE FORGETS TO TELL US THE TRUTH

Cheney: always research and clarify as he may be talking bollocks

The Reverend Rees’s rookie finance chief, Craig “Crapita” Cheney, has issued a bizarre and slightly mental statement attacking the Bristol Cable after they published an article this week claiming the Reverend was employing MORE – not less – bosses at the council on salaries of £50k a year or more.

In a meandering outburst lacking in either PRECISION or CLARITY – and obviously written by arse-covering council managers for him – Cheney fails to CONFIRM or DENY the accuracy of the Cable’s central claim. Instead he ATTACKS the paper for quoting information he personally signed off as accurate and complete and ready for public consumption.

“The MISTAKE [The Cable] made is in the READING of a table of data contained in the council’s draft annual statement of accounts,” Cheney spins with a straight face. Of course, how silly of people to read the data Cheney supplied in his accounts! That’s not what a published “table of data” is for at all is it? Cheney then cheerily slags the Cable for “not approaching the council to RESEARCH and CLARIFY the nature of that data.”

Er, why would they? Is Cheney claiming anything he publishes needs to be researched and clarified because it’s probably a load of BOLLOCKS? Is this not a little time-consuming for a council claiming to be struggling to resource basic public services and confusing for journalists who might think information provided by a local authority finance department in their Statement of Accounts is ACCURATE and COMPLETE?

Cheney’s contention is that his “table does not reflect the number of council employees who receive a basic salary of £50,000 or more per year as was reported” because it includes low paid staff who received large redundancy pay-offs last year. On the basis of this THIN CLAIM, Cheney then demands an APOLOGY from the Cable while dismally failing to publish information that does accurately “reflect the number of council employees who receive a basic salary of £50,000 or more”!

Cheney’s demand for an apology is deranged for, at least, two reasons. First, the error is down to Cheney’s own SLOPPINESS and INABILITY to present information unambiguously and accurately. For some reason, the chump has departed from the usual custom and good practice of previous years and not stated in his accounts the number of employees earning £50k or more only because they were in receipt of large payments last year for ‘loss of office’. Why?

Moreover, despite taking the time to issue his long, rambling and self-serving statement, Cheney chooses NOT to correct his schoolboy presentation errors properly. Where’s the unequivocal clarification of how many of the 222 staff listed as earning £50k plus last year are only listed due to their redundancy payments and how many are receiving a salary every year in excess of £50k? Why is Cheney so coy about providing this SIMPLE INFORMATION in his daft attempt at aggressive rebuttal?

This leads to the second reason why Cheney’s demand for an apology is ridiculous. He hasn’t REBUTTED the Cable’s main claim – that the city council is employing MORE staff on £50k a year than they were a year ago! Are they or aren’t they? Cheney must know.

The Cable needs to tell Cheney, Rees and the Labour Party bullies to fuck off and provide the FULL PICTURE they have on these salaries. Like the council has managed to do in every other year they’ve published salary information.

What’s the big secret this year?

RESHUFFLE KERFUFFLE

Bizarre Cabinet reshuffle from the Reverend Rees last month. The highlight of which was a BLATANT LEAK to the press of his decision to fire his Labour rival for Mayor and transport chief Mark “LAME DUCK” Bradshaw days before the official announcement.

Quite what the Reverend and his PR point man Kevin “Don’t mention the private school education” Slocombe thought they might achieve by publicly firing Bradshaw is anyone’s guess. Maybe it boosted the pair’s FRAGILE EGOS and helped them feel like they were actually in charge of something?

The Reverend also took the opportunity to PROMOTE his close friend, hapless incompetent Asher “The Slasher” Craig, to Deputy Mayor alongside yes-man Craig “Crapita” Cheney, the cabinet’s overpromoted finance man.

Slasher’s promotion came just days before another LEAK to the press appeared. This one claiming Close-It’s enormous £5k council tax DEBT, run up over a number of years and still outstanding when she was elected councillor last May and promoted to Cabinet in the autumn, was paid off by the local Labour Party!

The LEGALITY of any of Slasher’s financial decisions while having an undeclared debt with the council is being carefully studied. As is her new portfolio extended to include public health and public transport alongside her existing and disastrous responsibilities for demolished kids’ playgrounds, collapsing Neighbourhood Partnerships, underfunded leisure centres, closing libraries, decaying community assets and up-for-sale parks.

“Even those on the right wing of the Bristol Labour Party think she’s A TORY!” is how one insider described Slasher to us recently.

Meanwhile, the Reverend is taking on PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for the ongoing Arena non-appearance project and for elements of the TRANSPORT brief, particularly congestion. Effectively splitting responsibility for the city’s difficult and badly managed transport brief between himself and useless Asher the Slasher. Of course, neither have any EXPERIENCE whatsoever of transport.

The Reverend and  Kevin “Don’t mention the private school education” Slocombe are desperately touting this reshuffle as a “CONSOLIDATION OF POWER“. However, the press leaks; the Reverend’s new responsibility for two poisoned chalices and the promotion of an idiot – Asher the Slasher – look more like an administration UNRAVELLING.

There may be trouble ahead …

SELLING OUT, CASHING IN

It’s not taken long for Labour councillors in Bristol to get their feet under the table and use their large new majority on the council to begin the enormous political challenge of, er, lining up LUCRATIVE CONTRACTS and work for their employers!

 Please step forward Craig “MR CRAPITA” Cheney, a junior employee of hellish public sector contractors and serial outsourcing cock-up artists CAPITA. He currently masquerades part time as ‘Cabinet Member for Finance, Governance and Performance’, wandering aimlessly around the Counts Louse accompanied by a chorus of whispers of “this one’s totally out of his depth isn’t he”?

 But now it looks like Mr Crapita has taken his first key decision. To appoint a new Treasury consultancy team from, er, CAPITA!

The Treasury team basically takes decisions around borrowing and investments at the council. Although why a private firm at a further COST to us now needs to do this work rather than the council’s highly paid “EXPERT” in-house finance bosses is not made clear by Mr Crapita, who is yet to publicise his self-serving, private sector career-enhancing decision.

Meanwhile on 24 November at the Counts Louse, the Rev Rees PERSONALLY HOSTED ‘The Big Conversation: Development by Bristol City Council’.

“Help shape the future development of Bristol,” gushed the publicity, squarely aimed at big money CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT INTERESTS who were promised ACCESS to not only the Rev Rees but the opportunity to “Join Cabinet Lead for Homes and communities Councillor Paul Smith; Cabinet Lead for Place Councillor Helen Holland; and Cabinet member for Transport, Councillor Mark Bradshaw.”

Among the agenda items was ‘De-risking the development process and the role of planning’. Presumably the aim being to simplify things for corporates wanting to BUILD SHIT quick for a FAST BUCK in Bristol? However, what really caught the eye about this event, held at the Counts Louse with Bristol Labour politicians and Bristol City Council bosses in attendance was that it wasn’t organised by Bristol City Council.

Instead, THIS INVITATION-ONLY EVENT to meet influential senior Labour politicians and council bosses for “TABLE DISCUSSIONS” was organised by a corporate lobbying firm, JBP. Who happen to specialise in … Wait for it … “complex planning and construction projects in retail, house building and major infrastructure development.”

How terribly cosy for all involved. Even more so when you realise that the JBP employee who organised the event at the council was one Nicola “LA LA” Beech. La La, when she’s not shilling for corporate development interests, also happens to be a LABOUR COUNCILLOR for St George Central!

It’s a small world isn’t it?