Peter Hough

Peter Hough
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Monday, 17 January 2011

No business like snow business

I was very surprised to read that the leader of Sefton Conservatives supported the Labour cabinet member responsible for gritting in his decision not to attend public meetings on the failure to clear away the snow and ice that besieged the borough recently.

The Crosby Herald in an article headed 'Absent grit boss declines meeting' reported that Tory leader Cllr Parry had said:

' ...the attendance at Area Committees of Chief Executive Margaret Carney, and top Council officers Jerry McConkey and Peter Moore was sufficient.'

The newspaper made these comments about the non-attendance of Cllr Fairclough:

'The Labour Councillor is paid £18,000 a year on top of the basic £9,000 to act as the political boss for Technical Services.
He said: “This week’s Technical Services Department meeting was cancelled because the cabinet meeting was cancelled for the following day.
“There is another Technical Services Department meeting planned for later this month. “This arrangement was made in November before the snow had fallen.”
Cllr Fairclough said he would not attend Area Committees until a full report into Sefton’s response to the snow had been completed.'
As Chair of the Crosby Area Committee, which sits in public, I had requested that Cllr Fairclough attend this Wednesday's meeting - but he apparently had some trade union business to attend to. He had previously turned down an invitation to attend the Southport Area Committee.
Cabinet members are the local equivalent of government ministers. When things go wrong nationally, it's usually the minister who goes before the public - not the civil servants.

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