Councillors misleading campaign does nothing but further undermine peoples faith in Politics

I felt I must respond to the recent Lytham St Annes Express article through my blog as I was not asked to comment in the report. I feel I must do so as it’s content is far from accurate and again is driven by a deliberate campaign being waged by Cllr Hayhurst to undermine the Council.

The Notice of Motion (NOM)put forward by Cllr Hayhurst was a political stunt to resurrect an issue which was put before members over two years ago. The Councils Chief Executive has issued a full report on the reasons surrounding the departure of the Director of Streetscene and that the report makes it clear that his departure was nothing to do with any financial impropriety.

The Streetscene overspend was £309,000 NOT the £1.6 million which Cllr Hayhurst constantly uses to sensationalise this matter. This figure came about from external financial pressures faced by the department which were unavoidable. The Express mentioned some of these pressures in their article but the key items of overspend came from vehicle repairs, diesel increases, overtime and insurance losses from the Poulton vandal fire.  This single overspend did not lead to the closure of the St Annes Pool, although I admit, it did not help, it was a combination of external pressures such as the bill for the Concessionary Bus Travel which forced this decision.

All 51 Councillors have been given an opportunity to view the full independent report by the CX at any time. All but a handful of elected members have taken the time to read it.  The report cannot be made a “public” document for internal/contractual reasons only.

Cllr Hayhorse mentions a “Yes Minister” script on this issue and the news report says that Officers and ruling Conservatives did not respond. This I need to clarify. The constitution of the Council “Does Not” allow Councillors to debate a NOM unless the NOM mover asks for a vote at the meeting, for it to be heard – Something Cllr Hayhurst did not request! Therefore the Mayor referred the matter to committee. 

I would have been more than happy at the meeting to have put him right on this matter and to have had to opportunity to verbally correct his misleading comments. I can assure readers that this matter has been fully investigated, lessons learnt and processes put in place across the Council to ensure that potential overspend risks are identified quickly to avoid the risk to Council services in future.

I fully accept and expect opposition Councillors to oppose policies and decisions of the ruling Conservative administration, however, it is both disappointing and destructive when they deliberately use the media to misrepresent the facts. Councillor Hayhurst has stated in public that “he would rather see the ship sink, that it become a success without himself at the helm” This is a shameful stance for a former Council Leader to take and shows a blatant disregard for both the Council organisation and the job he has been elected to do.

I urge readers to ponder on these facts whenever they read stories generated by Cllr Hayhorse and I assure them that the Council has nothing to hide in respect of any aspect of it’s operations, personnel or financial Management.

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