Great news just in. Our four-jobs mayor, the Reverend Rees, has now declared his fifth job!
He’s now picking up an honorarium from 17 Rooms, part of Centre for Sustainable Development at the Brookings Institute in Washington DC and the Rockefeller Foundation in New York. An honorarium is payment for services rendered and Rees has registered it as a pecuniary interest under ’employment’ .
This latest little income uplift fits alongside being chair of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) City Regions Board (1.5 to 2 days a week), chair of Core Cities and a non-executive director at TV company Plimsoll Productions.
We know he gets £83k as mayor (plus a councillor allowance of £14k) and that his LGA allowance is £17.5k. However, the rest of his pay is undisclosed.
This new Brookings Institute/Rockefeller gig seems to involve the Reverend pursuing his Atlanticist interests and promoting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. A self-interested US-led global free market template for the ‘free world’. A long way from Bristol.
You have to wonder when the Reverend finds any time to be the executive mayor of Bristol?
Another petulant outburst from our man-child Reverend mayor in the papers. He’s now got his knickers in a twist because opposition councillors aren’t attending his cabinet to watch him rubberstamp decisions he made earlier behind closed doors.
Seems councillors aren’t much interested in asking him questions at these meetings so that Rees can direct one of his bitchy little monologues at them that they’re not allowed to respond to.
It’s a shame the Reverend doesn’t take such a keen interest in Labour attendance at meetings. In three weeks in late September/early October there were four scrutiny meetings and one audit meeting and 18 places available to Labour.
They only filled five of them and, of those five, only two of them participated and spoke!
The current Labour record holder for not bothering to show up is the lazy bastards’ lazy bastard, Hartcliffe councillor Paul Goggin. He’s attended 33% of the meetings he’s been expected at. These are meetings like planning and licensing where he might have some input rather than a cabinet meeting where there’s no role for ordinary councillors.
But it’s not all bad news for Goggin. As it seems that this lucky council tenant has been gifted a brand new fence. Although no one quite knows how that works as it’s not council policy to provide tenants with new fencing.
Is it some sort of special award for being fucking lazy?
ANYONE FOUND A LOST LIB DEM
Has anyone seen the Lib Dem councillor for Hotwells and Harbourside, Alex “The Disappeared” Hartley? Residents say he doesn’t bother responding to emails and he hasn’t been near a council meeting for months? Has he died?
The councillor has quite an inbox too as the Reverend’s proposed plan to turn Cumberland Basin into a corporate high-rise hell is high on the agenda as are various other smaller developments that may involve height.
If anyone finds him, please return him to Hotwells and Harbourside pronto.
LABOUR LAWRENCE HELL
No article on councillor attendance would be complete without a mention of that legendary serial absentee, Labour’s Lawrence Hill councillor Hibaq “To Basics” Jama. Hardly ever at the Counts Louse, she’s reputed to spend a lot of time out of the country.
Ms Jama managed an attendance at council meetings of just 30 per cent for the first six months of this year and was nowhere to be seen afer the recent fire in her ward at council owned Twinnell House.
A fire that left one dead and eight hospitalised. Instead of visiting, Jama announced to residents that they could contact her by email if they needed to.
Was Jama out of the country? The Reverend definitely was. Hanging around at various obscure Bloomberg and Rockefeller meetings in the Big Apple, he finally managed to fit in a difficult visit to Twinnell residents five days after the fire.
Labour Cabinet housing boss, Tom “Plasticine Man” Renhard, meanwhile, was at the Labour conference on the morning after the fire from where he did manage to tweet his sympathies to the victims. He then happily spent the rest of the day tweeting and retweeting about various dull career-building conference events he attended.
It’s getting murkier and murkier at Stepping Up, Asher “The Slasher” Craig and the Reverend’s scheme to promote more black people into management at the council.
The council-run project, run by generously remunerated Christine “Wonky” Bamford, paid through a Byzantine tax efficient route involving a procurement firm and a recruitment agency, has been quietly outsourced since March 2022 to Stepping Up Leadership CIC. A new firm that conveniently shares an address with genuine council firm, Bristol Waste.
The new company has two directors, “Wonky” Bamford and Asher the Slasher. The Slasher, as a member of the cabinet, has, therefore, effectively outsourced a council service to her own company with zero democratic oversight.
Instead, Bristol City Council’s departed Chief Chump, Mike “Billie Jean” Jackson has personally signed off all the arrangements relating to Stepping Up for Slasher since the project’s inception.
Procurement information at the council reveals that Jacko has arranged no framework, no tender, and no competition for Stepping Up’s transfer out of the council “for technical reasons”. Instead, Jacko appears just to have let Slasher grab a council funded project and then procured its services back from her for a fee!
Since being called out on Twitter over the summer about this personal financial arrangement with council resources, the Slasher has, after calling her critics “Karens”, ceased any ‘significant control’ in the firm for now.
Even so, what a totally bent way for a council, its chief executive and a cabinet member to be carrying on with public assets.
Not much information emerging from the Rev Rees on the scale of cuts in public services he’s proposing over the next year*. Instead the inane egoist seems to be focussing his PR efforts on boasting about how many ‘hits’ his ridiculous Canadian TED Talk is getting on Youtube and his fantasy plan for an underground network in Bristol.
What we do know is that of the £11.7m of savings planned for delivery in 2021/22, only 46% were achieved.Leaving around £5.5m to be brought forward to this year. We also know around £29m of ‘efficiencies’ and ‘transformations’ were announced in this year’s budget. That’s a total of about £34.5m cuts to be made to public services this year then.
But what will be cut? Council documents, carefully hidden from view, have identified “six key areas for service reviews”. They are: property and capital; be more business-like and secure more external resource; improving efficiencies; digital transformation; reducing the need for direct services and, er, redesigning, reducing, or stopping services.
Property appears on these cuts lists every year and delivers nothing; the council being “more businesslike” is a hollow joke and that last time they tried digital transformation it delivered a £30m deficit senior bosses tried to hide from the mayor and public.
It’s therefore likely all the cuts will come from “improving efficiencies”, euphemism for staff cuts; reducing the need for direct services, which means trying to stop the public accessing services they’re entitled to (see SEND) and redesigning, reducing, or stopping services, which means scrapping services altogether.
So the Reverend’s plan is to fire staff, bully council taxpayers into not taking up services and cut anything else that’s not nailed down to save £34.5m
No wonder he wants you to look the other way at his stupid TED Talk.
*Since this article was published Bristol City Council has published a press release acknowledging they may need to make £31.1m next year. What they didn’t mention was an annex to a finance report to cabinet that suggested these cuts might be as much as £87.6m!
Remember last year when the council’s useless pillock of a Director of Workforce, John “Bedwetter” Walsh, and his ludicrous arselickin’ sidekick, Facilities boss, David Martin “Bore-Mann”, threatened to sue Councillor Gary “Meathead” Hopkins and Councillor Richard “Bunter” Eddy for defamation after they said what they thought at a council meeting?
Bunter described comments by Bedwetter and Bore-Man at a HR meeting to discuss the outsourcing of council cleaners and security to Bristol Waste as “worthy of Dr Goebbels and the Third Reich”! While Meathead waded in telling them “I don’t believe a word of what’s been presented to us by the management side.”
Months later, with the Reverend safely re-elected, Bedwetter and Bore-Mann suddenly announced, to much hilarity, that they were suing this pair of robust critics of the Reverend for defamation.
Legal letters had been dispatched we were solemnly informed.Then we heard, er, absolutely nothing.
Until a recent article in the Nazi Post explaining Bunter might be sued again for comparing women’s rights campaigners to “fascists”during the recent debate about keeping Bristol’s strip clubs open.
Tucked in at the end of this article, was an explanation of what happened to that last libel action: “Both members denied any wrongdoing and the matter is understood to have been resolved recently by agreement with no further action.”
No sign of a retraction. No sign of an apology. No sign of damages. No sign that Bristol City Council bosses aren’t Nazis. Looks like it’s perfectly OK to call council bosses Nazis then.
The pastors at the Reverend Rees’s church, the Hope Community Church in Hotwells, are Chris and Alice Bond. A quick search on the Hope’s website uncovers a sermon from Alice on the subject of gay marriage.
The Hope Church therefore refuses to wed or bless gay couples. Maybe all well and good? Everybody’s entitled to their views no matter how hate-filled or obnoxious they may be. Similarly, people are entitled to attend a church where obnoxious views are promoted.
However, Chris and Alice Bond also share a seat on the Western Harbour Advisory Group. A group set up personally by the Reverend to support his controversial proposed corporate redevelopment of the Cumberland Basin.
Oxford educated Chris Bond is also the chair of governors at Hotwells Primary School. Our question is, should open homophobes be sitting on public bodies?
The Reverend’s bizarro press conferences making national headlines raises questions about the state of our local press. The Reverend boasted about his “open press conferences” to the Mayor’s Migration Council website as recently as May: “my motto is: ´ask me anything,” he chirped with a straight face.
Not quite. It’s since emerged that Local Democracy Reporters at the Post could not attend these ‘open’ press conferences “by agreement” with whatever moron was running our local newspaper at the time.
Middle class community rag, The Bristol Cable, then waded in, explaining that they’d never been allowed to attend the ‘open press conferences’ since they began two years ago. Although, for some reason, they didn’t tell anyone or consider their ban newsworthy.
It gets worse. Bristol 24/7 hackette, Ellie “Copy Typist” Pipe, attended the press conference on the 8 June. She watched Rees’s dreadful council tax funded PR Saskia “Hindley” Konynenburg attempt to bully newbie Local Democracy Reporter Alex Seabrook on camera for asking the Reverend a mild question about his pointless climate change lecture trip to Vancouver. And Ms Pipe didn’t notice anything worth reporting!
The story finally came to light two weeks later when citizen journalist Jo “Vexatious” Booth, saw the blatant act of bullying on Youtube and posted the clip to Twitter. Cue viral story and the Reverend and Koynenburg making national headlines for their bullying antics.
Bristol journalists really need to get their shit together and stop allowing themselves to be easy pushovers for the Reverend and his PR team.
How many stories have these idiots allowed to be buried over the last six years?
Rumours emerge that council staff are less than happy that the Reverend has seized a £900k underspend from last year’s budget to reinstate £400k of funding to his personal office that was scrapped by councillors at this year’s budget meeting. The other £500k will be tucked away in the Reverend’s slush fund (surely ‘Reserves’? Ed).
The £400k will be spent hiring new staff to bow and scrape around the lame duck Reverend so that they can carry on spying on what local residents are saying about them on Twitter and continue bullying the press into complying with the Reverend’s deranged stateside worldview.
Meanwhile. a memo is doing the rounds at the council telling staff there is a recruitment freeze.This means that any staff not up on the privileged third floor servicing the Reverend’s personal needs will simply have to work harder to make up for a management imposed recruitment freeze.
A holding statement regarding the spying by council education bosses and External Comms officers on parents with SEND children was put in to cabinet today by councillors.
The statement from senior councillors on the Overview and Scrutiny Commission seemed intent on keeping its powder dry for the People Scrutiny Commission on Monday. When councillors with direct knowledge of SEND issues may have the opportunity to grill some of the moral and mental inadequates directly responsible for the spying as well as the authors of the council’s unreliable fact finding report.
The suspicion is that OSMB councillors know that a cabinet meeting dominated by the Rev Rees, who can talk his personal brand of tedious drivel long as he likes and take any decision he likes, may not be the ideal forum to address the issues at stake. However, the OSMB statement still makes a few useful points.
Firstly, they completely distance themselves from the council’s flawed fact finding report and dump responsibility for that hot mess firmly on the officers:
It is therefore an officers’ report not an OSMB report, and its conclusions are those of Legal Services not of OSMB members.
OSMB also express some serious concerns about the director-level oversight of the spying. The direct responsibility of Education Director Alison “Pervy” Hurley and People Director Hugh “Cares?” Evans, both banking a small fortune in public money to, at least, get the basics right and leave an accountable paper trail behind them for their actions.
OSMB also has strong concerns about the statement in the report that there was “no formal written decision to authorise the gathering of these social media posts”. Although the officers’ report concludes that there was no legal requirement to undertake a DPIA, this has been concluded in retrospect and only after concerns had been raised in the public domain. There does not seem to be any evidence of the officers involved in the collation of social media posts considering whether a DPIA was necessary beforehand. There is also no evidence of any of the officers considering whether the action they were taking, (i.e. searching through personal social media of parent-carers of children with Special Education Needs) was morally or ethically appropriate.
Full steam ahead to next Monday then. When some of the dodgy officers responsible for spying might have to show-up and explain themselves.
Book your tickets early.
*******A meeting of Bristol City Council’s People Scrutiny Commission will take place on Monday 12 September at 5.00pm for councillors to discuss this absurd report and next steps. People are encouraged to ask questions, make statements and, if possible, to attend and jeer at any spying director or manager scum in attendance (that’s if they have the balls to attend – look out for last minute sick notes). Details on asking questions and putting in statements are here under ‘Public Forum’.
Gossip from around the Nazi Post’s city centre flexible workdesk regarding their new editor Pete “Swindon” Gavan.
“When former editor Mike Norton was in charge, everything was at the whim of Norton and how his relationship with Kevin Slocombe (the mayor’s PR assistant) was going. If they fell out, a minor put down by Marvin to a reporter was front page news.
“If Norton and Slocombe were mates, Esme Ashcroft [former Post political editor] was prevented from investigating Marvin’s deal with YTL, conducted in the Far East, for an arena at Filton. Esme left because of it. Now though, it seems the new boss isn’t taking any shit. He don’t care who Slocombe is.”
Neither does anyone else in the city. What’s the big deal about pound shop spin doctor Slo Kev anyway? We watch events with interest …