Tag Archives: Statement of Accounts

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?

CENSORSHIP WATCH: THE BRISTOL CABLE

 

In an unprecedented move, Bristol’s co-operatively owned indie newspaper, The Bristol Cable, has REMOVED an entirely accurate article from its website following COMPLAINTS from the Reverend Rees and his bent coterie of very shy high-earning council bosses.

The article, published YESTERDAY, drew attention to a the council’s Draft Statement of Accounts, originally highlighted by the Bristol News Facebook page last week, that the Reverend’s council was employing more people on salaries exceeding £50k a year than they were a year ago.

The Reverend failed to comment to the Cable yesterday but did tell a Full Council meeting last night that the salary figures in his Statement of Accounts were INACCURATE and MISLEADING because they included the redundancy payments received by departing bosses.

This seems UNLIKELY since the Rev’s statement doesn’t list the gross salaries and benefits of his highly paid managers but the general ‘Remuneration Band’ they fall within. A ‘Remuneration Band’ would not ordinarily include one-off redundancy payments.

And if it did, why aren’t the twenty-one high-earning bosses – who shared out £2.5MILLION between them in redundancy pay-offs last year – listed and named in the report as earning over £150k last year as the law requires?

Regardless of these facts, the Cable has pulled the article and replaced it with the following statement: ***PLEASE NOTE THIS ARTICLE IS SUBJECT TO A COMPLAINT AND UNDER REVIEW***

Why has this article been pulled? It’s based on figures published in June by the council that were signed off by their Audit Committee on 27 June. If the figures are wrong, it’s the council’s job to explain this and publicly correct them. There is absolutely NO PRECEDENT or GOOD REASON for The Cable to pull a whole article published in good faith quoting publicly available official figures. Especially when these figures are yet to be formally denied anywhere as inaccurate.

It’s also laughable that The Rev Rees has put out a call across the city for “ideas” to deal with his budget deficit. However, when an “idea” involving not paying his bosses such large sums of money for sod-all appears, he tries to ban it!

If Bristol City Council wishes to attempt to censor information that makes the mayor look like a powerless twerp, then that’s their affair. But why are the Bristol Cable making fools of themselves by being bullied into supporting the council in their efforts to censor the truth?

The Cable article, obtained from the web’s cache is published below:

331 employees are now paid an annual basic pay of between £50,000 and £124,000, compared to 216 people in the financial year of 2015/16.

At the same time as general public sector pay caps and cuts has battered the council, almost every band of executive salaries at the council has seen an increase in numbers in the past year. Of the 21 senior pay categories that changed over the year, 18 have seen increases in the number of staff receiving top salaries.

These figures include the £160,000 a year council chief executive Anna Klonowski. It also includes at least three other executives who have seen their pay packets swell over the year by around £7,000 each, taking them to well above £160,000 a year including pension contributions.

Under pressure for implementing drastic cuts, Mayor Marvin Rees, who was elected in May 2016 has challenged anti-cuts protesters to come up with solutions, rather than just criticise. Defending the council positions on cuts, Mr Rees has written: “If we do not make a saving in one area we have to make it in another area. The consequence of one person’s priority is the de-prioritisation of another person’s priority.”

Responding to this latest information, Tom Whittaker a spokesperson from Bristol People’s Assembly, a coalition of trade unions and activists, said: “Clearly there can be no justification for executive pay rises when services are being cut, when many of Bristol’s poorest residents are struggling to survive under the impact of austerity and when ordinary council workers are enduring a long pay freeze.”

Mayor Rees was asked what involvement he had in these decisions, and how it fitted with his priorities agenda. He did not respond to the request.

The figures come from the 2016/17 unaudited annual accounts published by the council, available here.