Bin collections & rubbish; the plan to deal with the backlog of rubbish

Bin collections & rubbish; the plan to deal with the backlog of rubbish

                                          

Well, after yesterday’s post about the bin collections seems things are changing again.

As Cllr Green puts it, “leaving bins uncollected for weeks is not acceptable” and “people also pay their Council Tax and expect a level of service in return”.

So, to summarise as of today (and yesterday) all scheduled collections are happening as they usually do. Anyone who had a missed collection this week should leave their bin out as Biffa will be coming to collect those they missed.

If you missed a green bin collection this week, leave your green bin with any extra bags of rubbish for collection on Sunday morning (Jan 2nd) and it should be emptied in 2-3 days.

Green bin waste is no longer being accepted at the extra ten locations set up to deal with the cold weather, so you can either take it to Bidston tip or hang onto it till Biffa collect it.

You can get more information from Streetscene on 606 2004.

P.S. I realise residents haven’t received the service they expect. Wirral Council collects the rubbish, which is then dealt with through Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority. The two Wirral councillors on MWDA are Cllr Alan Brighouse (Lib Dem, Oxton, 652 6041) and Cllr Tom Anderson (Conservative, Upton, 608 1899). Maybe you could highlight your concerns with them or in the comments?

FOI request – Freedom of Borough – £2k so far and counting

I’ve just received a partial answer to my request and I am to be quite frank staggered by the costs so far in awarding a person Freedom of the Borough.

The buffet was £705, the alcohol £121.15, flowers were £30, a photographer was a staggering £258.50 (to take a few photos)! and the scroll was £846.

So far that’s £40 shy of £2000. Bear in mind although this is a public meeting any members of the public are kept away from the alcohol & buffet (which the public have paid for) and told they can’t sit anywhere in the public gallery they’d actually be able to see how at least £2k of their money is being spent.

157 guests were invited and 110 turned up.

I will point out at this stage, I’m not in any way criticising Steve Maddox getting Freedom of the Borough, but at a time when Wirral Council is making people redundant, personally it just doesn’t seem right to be spending so much. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be money spent on awards and ceremony it’s just the taxpayer should know that its money is being spent prudently.

The original report stated “There are no staffing implications arising out of this report; there may be some modest financial implications which can be accommodated from within existing budgets.”

Clearly Jim Wilkie’s view of “modest financial implications” are different to mine!

Freedom of Information & Wirral Council. Do officers get paid overtime for attending meetings?

Freedom of Information & Wirral Council. Do officers get paid overtime for attending meetings?

                                            

I have today received an apology from Wirral Council about a Freedom of Information Act request submitted on the 1st December 2010.

The request here is basically an answer to the question, “How much does it cost to award someone Freedom of the Borough?” which I wrote about before on this blog when it happened earlier this year.

As readers may recall Wirral Council was "named and shamed" by the Information Commissioner in October for taking too long to respond. Quite what the monitoring being done by the Information Commissioner isn’t gone into detail.

As pointed out when he was awarded Freedom of the Borough, Steve Maddox had had to sit through many years of Council meetings and had never been asked to say anything. Whereas I understand the logic of the Chief Officers being there, the only one I’ve known be asked anything (in recent times) is Bill Norman about who had seen the infamous Charteris report into the library closures (and the odd procedural question).

Either the Chief Officers of Wirral Council come to meetings on a purely voluntary basis or they are paid overtime. The table below shows how much they got paid last year (although there have been some controversial changes uprating them since).

Senior Officers Remuneration (Wirral Council) 2009-10
Senior Officers Remuneration (Wirral Council) 2009-10

Freedom of Speech and Censorship – Time Labour said sorry for cuts

I’ve just been reading the joint statement on Wikileaks released by the UN.

Section 4 really caught my eye with regards to the pressure put on yours truly about this story. As readers may be unaware a tax-payer funded body is threatening a lawsuit on a matter that is protected in UK law from libel lawsuits.

They also threaten to "write to" the company hosting this blog and to get it deleted. Thankfully being hosted in America there are stronger legal protections on freedom of speech.

As the UN put it "Such illegitimate interference includes politically motivated legal cases brought against journalists and independent media, and blocking of websites and web domains on political grounds."

I was ready to give Labour the benefit of the doubt in this matter as generally their councillors are honest (especially Cllr Foulkes) enough to declare a prejudicial interest. In fact I mentioned this in the article I wrote.

This whole "storm in a teacup episode" has overtones of the time last year that Cllr. Harry Smith moaned to the Lib Dems (in a letter he did have the decency to copy to myself along with a Wirral Council compliment slip with the box for immediate action ticked) that I’d stated in a Focus article (which was true) that while Vice-Chair he hadn’t gone to a Pensions Committee meeting at which it had been revealed the Fund had lost ~£700 million (which leads to extra costs to Wirral Council that can’t be used to fund frontline services).

Cllr. Harry Smith was annoyed that residents were going to his surgery and talking to him about pensions. However isn’t talking to local residents at your surgery about decisions you’ve made part of being a (well-paid) local councillor Harry? In your election literature (which I still have from 2007) your promise was Give me 15 minutes of your time and I’ll give you 4 years of mine.

How do you square choosing to go on holiday (instead of representing your residents) and being suspended as a councillor for a week with this promise? How about the person you put on your election literature under a headline like "We’re voting for Harry Smith" who didn’t even vote at all? As a local resident in Bidston & St. James I would hope that Labour’s leaflet is not misleading local residents to vote for them. Isn’t it time residents got an apology and the truth?

£48 million has recently had to be cut from this year’s budget (voted for by Labour in March) due to the Labour government’s mismanagement of the country’s finances and spiralling costs on bureaucracy. These are Labour’s cuts to services (whose Minister said there was "no money left") that will next year directly affect residents harshly here in Bidston & St. James. Cllr Foulkes (Labour’s leader) has already apologised publically to the people of Wirral for mistakes the earlier Labour administration made. Isn’t it time other Labour councillors said sorry to the residents of Wirral for the mistakes they’ve made that have led to these cuts?