Friday, 16 May 2008

I'm not gone yet!

A very kind letter from Michael Stevenson in the Herald this week, complimenting me on my work on Castle Morpeth Borough Council – even if it did read a bit like an obituary.

However, I won’t be fading away into obscurity immediately.

Castle Morpeth Borough Council is not actually abolished until March 31st next year, so I remain a Borough councillor for another nine months or so.

In fact, as ‘Executive Member for Improvement’ (assuming the voting at Annual Council on Monday (19th) goes to plan), I’ll be taking a lead role in winding up the Borough Council (no change there, some might say).

We have a brief overlap period, and if we are to make a smooth transition, then tying up all the loose ends neatly at the Borough will be (nearly) as important as making sure the unitary is ready to take over. And that includes continuity in service delivery, making sure partner organisations (GMDT, Business Forum, ENRgI etc) are OK, supporting staff transfers etc, and making sure the Council's assets go where they should go. The local government restructure in 1974 was fairly sloppy - especially that Morpeth Town Council wasn't created in that process. I'd say that a significant proportion of the local government problems over the past 35 years have been down to poor decisions made in 1974.

I'm hoping we'll do things better this time - and I'll be doing my best - but I'm not optimistic

So - thanks - but please save your plaudits till the job is completed.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Farmer's Market of the Month Award

BBC Countryfile magazine is going to be launching a 'farmers market of the month' shortly.

This will be by nomination from readers of the magazine. See the website

Friday, 2 May 2008

Election News

Thanks to all 303 people who voted for me in Morpeth North. Sadly there just weren't enough of you to get me elected.

David Moore, the LibDem now represents Morpeth North on the new unitary authority - part of a 'clean sweep' which sees LibDems representing Morpeth in all three unitary authority seats. Good luck to them! (They'll need it)

Overall - the new authority comprises 26 LibDems, 17 Labour, 17 Tory and 7 Independents. Since you need 34 councillors to get a controlling majority - I'm watching closely to see what combination comes together to take control (if any).

Which reminds me - a sad farewell to Mark Henderson (Chief Executive of the old County Council) - sad because of all the Council tax money he's taking with him by way of bonuses etc. I gather he's setting up as a consultant - I only hope the new authority do not decide to 'outsource' the role of Chief Exec.