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Posted by: John Brace | 21st November 2013

Cllr Simon Mountney: “Now I don’t know, I’ve asked, no one will tell me what the issue was that caused that employee to be paid that large amount of money”

Cllr Simon Mountney: “Now I don’t know, I’ve asked, no one will tell me what the issue was that caused that employee to be paid that large amount of money”

                           

Continuing from yesterday about last week’s Audit and Risk Management Committee meeting, Cllr Simon Mountney’s further comments start at 24:22 in this video clip and continue in the clip below.

Cllr Mountney said, “Chair, thank you. Chair your comments about fraud are interesting because I don’t know of one councillor that would not support an employee who followed the procedures, made the decision but got it wrong. I think that’s what happens I hear every day of the week that’s important.

Perhaps they need training, perhaps they need guidance, whatever they need but not one councillor I don’t think has called for that person to be sacked, or fired or disciplined as they have with other council employees in the past and that’s the difference.

Steve you had an analogy about people given legal advice that you found yourself up against all this legal advice. That was probably because you’d done something wrong.”

Cllr Steve Foulkes said “I got divorced.”

Cllr Simon Mountney continued, “Whatever the case may be, it’s difficult to prove a wrong. You can get away with something, you can prove an innocent but you can’t prove a wrongdoing err the main reason you can’t frame people because now people find out about it down the line.

No one’s calling for employees to be dragged out and flogged publicly for making mistakes. That’s not what we’re asking for. Importantly as if you like a director of this company being a councillor, I want to learn the lessons that need to be learnt so that we can improve it.

Now, what we’re not doing is that process. An employee of this Council has just been paid tens of thousands of pounds for something that was done to them. Now I don’t know, I’ve asked, no one will tell me what the issue was that caused that employee to be paid that large amount of money. How can we therefore learn the lessons? We’re not. So page after page after page has been written here to say we did wrong and we’re improving. No we’re not, because we’re not learning the lessons which have been learnt clearly from all these issues because we’re still doing it!

Please somebody tell me that the level of rigour, robustness and due diligence was in force against the payment of that large amount of money recently to a Council employee as is being applied to the Martin Morton issue, because I tell you that is impossible, impossible!? Two years that process has been gone one, two years! He’s been dragged through every last ditch, the man is at the edge and hang on, I haven’t finished, I’ve not said anything that’s wrong.

He’s been dragged through every ditch, he is at the end and yet we can find a large amount of money to pay for an individual in this Council within what appears to be, appears to be weeks. Now that same level of robustness and diligence cannot have been applied to that case as indeed applies to Martin Morton and therefore your comments about I want everyone to be treated the same is not happening in this Council! All these lessons which we’re supposed to have learnt, not one! Thank you.”

Cllr Jim Crabtree (Chair): “Surjit would like to come in.”

Surjit Tour, head of Legal and Member Services said, “I would advise it’s not appropriate for Members to discuss or go into detail about any particular case and I appreciate what Cllr Mountney has said.

What I would say however, I agree with Mr. Morton, he has legal advice, he has a legal adviser and matters are being dealt with through his solicitors.”

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Responses

  1. Councillor Mountney is the only one of the 66 to openly and consistently speak up in support of Martin Morton and the other whistleblowers over the years. Others have done it with one eye on their own interests, but that doesn’t cut the mustard, you selfish swine.

    If we had 66 of him, with his integrity and sense of fairness, the stinking, foetid stables would have been mucked out long ago and we’d be the best, finest smelling council in the land.

    • I think the phrase you’re looking for is “clearing the Augean stables” which was one of the labours of Hercules.

  2. Payment to an ’employee’ was a political move, as I suspect it was more ‘Hush up’ money,’buried bodies’ may be involved.. Various phrases come to mind such as ‘Its not what you know etc.and when you lie with dogs you get fleas.

    • The thing is though, that if a councillor (albeit an opposition one) can’t get answers and in a public meeting as it was on the 14th October a question is asked of Cllr Phil Davies and he replies with “I’ve got nothing to add to the err err email of the Chief Executive issued to all Members of the Council on the 7th October” it means things are as clear as mud to the press and public and also gives the impression they have something to hide.

      They’re only marginally clearer to councillors. For the last two years Wirral Council hasn’t been able to prove value for money to its external auditors. If it’s going to be able to prove value for money for this financial year then the culture will have to change to one where at least they say what the money was for (even if they won’t state in public who it was to).

  3. Paul Flowers become chairman of the Co-op because his history at the charity Lifeline was concealed for “reputation management” in that donors may have dried up should his expense claims have become public.

    If we term this obfuscation , a lie, then we see that lies grow,take root and blossom such that they take over the garden and greater damage is caused later by the failure to weed out at the start.

    The Co-op has a 1.5 billion shortfall and its ethical reputation is shot to pieces because one charity on the advice of a QC did not follow up its investigation. The Methodist church also has a problem with a coke-snorting, orgy-attending, and fraud-making Reverend. Clearing out the Augean stables may require diminishing the importance of lawyers by whose intervention there remains no meaning left even in a Scrutiny committee.

  4. Good job Paul Flowers wasn’t a Wirral Council whistleblower or complainant, and it was only…

    o buying crystal meth
    o internet porn
    o fiddling his councillor expenses
    o a driving ban
    o other low level offences.

    …otherwise he really would have felt the heat VERY EARLY ON


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