NYCC & SBC Pipped For National Award First Published December 2012

Satirical review and Critical analysis

PrivateEye3

Satirical review by Tim Thorne

Scarborough Borough Council has narrowly missed out on a prestigious National Award which highlights the use of public money in Local Government.

Ten Scarborough Borough Councillors who also sit on North Yorkshire County Council were narrowly pipped to the honour by the Leader of Leicester County Council. The award was given out at the Private Eye ‘Rotten Boroughs Awards 2012’ .

The ‘Highly Commended’ ten Scarborough Borough Councillors were nominated in the ‘ Expenses Fiddler of the Year’ category.

The Award celebrates the contribution given by the Councillors for bleeding the public purse dry in these times of austerity and also recognises the commitment of Councillors and Officers in dragging out the whole Broadband Expenses Double-Dipping Complaint Saga for nine months and making sure it costs the taxpayer as much money as possible.

Council Leader, Cllr Tim Fix, said:

  • “These are depressing times for the Borough and I’m not pleased our lack of hard work has been recognised by Private Eye . Despite the difficult financial climate we are in, we remain a navel looking council and will continue to work hard for the benefit of ourselves residents.”

Council Chief Executive Knob Dylan added:

  • “While this award recognises poor leadership at local government level in the region, I want to take the opportunity to also praise the tax payer for funding all those curries I’ve eaten at Eastern Paradise. The Elton John tickets went down a treat too“.
  • “If it wasn’t for the lack of effort from the management team and elected members of Scarborough Borough Council, we would not be getting this kind of recognition from Private Eye .”

Councillor Bob Twatt responded to the award by e-mail:

  • “F*** off, Terrorist. Did someone steal your f***ing Lego set or something? Get back on your mother’s tit, you inbred Whitby internet troll.”

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Scarborough Borough Council continues to fire employees and sell off assets in a vain attempt to balance the books amid a funding shortfall from central government that has left all councils across the country looking to find savings. In the current financial year, more than £2.4 million of savings are being made, with the council forced to make a further £1.4 million saving in 2013/14, but the caviar budget for meetings is safe.

Amid that climate, the Council is at the forefront of efforts to attract renewable energy technology and jobs to the borough, particularly from the wind farm support and bovine excrement sectors. The Council is also begging Tesco to part with the £10million for Dean Road early, as there is a massive hole in the accounts.

– Tim Thorne

Critical analysis by Tim Hicks

Yes readers, the Corruption Busters Team have gone national again, putting us at the leading edge of investigative journalism into corruption in the UK.

Sadly, the double-dipping Councillors and Monitoring Officer Carole Dunn are to be congratulated for once again bringing North Yorkshire, Scarborough and themselves into national disrepute, by starring as runners up in the PRIVATE EYE ‘EXPENSES FIDDLER OF THE YEAR’ AWARD 2012.

Their award was “Highly Commended”, just being pipped for the number one spot of ‘Expenses Fiddlers of the Year’ by fellow double-dipper, Councillor David Parsons, the former Leader of Leicestershire County Council. North Yorkshire’s Ms Carole Dunn, was extensively criticised in Private Eye and should also be commended for the outstanding part she has played in obtaining this national award for her Councillors and, by implication, herself.

That happy band of “cyber terrorists” and “Internet Trolls” the Corruption Busters team (also known as “Corruption Bastards” in some circles, we hear) are proud to confirm they assisted with the article in Private Eye that was the basis of this award, which also effectively constitutes an award for the quality of our investigative journalism.

In addition, County Councillor Kenyon should also be commended for having appeared in Private Eye in exposures of separate acts of misconduct twice in one year, which is thought to be a record.

The article means that of all the scams and misconduct that Private Eye uncovered in 2012, only Mr Parson’s was judged worse than the ten double-dippers exonerated by NYCC Monitoring Officer Carole Dunn, despite the fact that they have obviously been blatantly disingenuous – even dishonest – and have now been accused of “fiddling” in the national press.

10_double_dippers

However, the implications for NYCC and SBC of the Councillor David Parsons case (who double-dipped by receiving payments from both the EU and the Council for in his travel expenses and did not repay it – essentially the same as our own Double-Dippers receiving two Broadband allowances and not “renunciating” i.e. returning the difference) – are very much more important.

There have been allegations in the press that all of the fifteen Scarborough and North Yorkshire double-dippers have committed a criminal offence of fraud by indulging in this practice.

Interestingly, Leicestershire County Council also took the same view and referred Councillor David Parsons to the Police. They also recovered all the money.

So why did this not happen in North Yorkshire? The difference is that in Leicestershire, the Monitoring Officers are straight and capable. They obviously also have a sense of integrity and independence – so conspicuously lacking in the North Yorkshire and Scarborough Monitoring Officers. As a result, Mr Parsons was sacked, stripped of his membership of the Conservative Party and forced to pay back the money, whilst the ten double-dippers of Scarborough and North Yorkshire have been told it is their “entitlement” to be paid twice for the same Broadband connection have suffered no censure and been allowed to keep the money.

In the latest defensive strategy, the Monitoring Officers of NYCC and SBC appear to be ignoring complaints and refusing to respond to correspondence in order to defend their double-dipping Councillors.

As a result of publicizing issues of corruption in North Yorkshire in Private Eye , I was the subject of a false complaint to the Police by ace double-dipper and then-Chair of the North Yorkshire Police Authority, County Councillor Jane Kenyon, for harassment, and was interviewed under caution by two Detectives at Fulford Road Police Station, York, at her personal request, before being released without charge. I have also received personal attacks by e mail against myself and my family for raising this issue.

However, this will not deter me from continuing to oppose corruption and neither will the Monitoring Officers devious and unprincipled manoeuvrings.

On behalf of myself and the other members of the Corruption Busters team, I again repeat our request that the fifteen Councillors re-consider their positions and re-pay the money – as David Parsons finally had the honesty to do. Until that happens we will keep on raising this issue.

Assuring all Double Dippers of an interesting and exciting 2013.

– Tim Hicks

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