Monday, March 02, 2009

When a 'Leader' cannot 'lead'.

Sticking with Council matters for today. Edna Mopbucket, who is an outstandingly fine cleaner, even if a bit of a gossip, has been on the phone again tonight. She's rather upset that the old sea dog Mark Kerr, Chief Executive until this afternoon, has gone. She hung around until six-ish, hoping to run her eye over the new 'Interim' CE, Jeremy Patterson. He's breaking new ground, in that he's never served as a sea captain. Reason she rang was to tell me about some plotting against Michael Jones, the Council Leader (or strictly speaking, the Chairman of the Executive Board). She overheard a 'voice' say that the only reason there isn't some genuine plotting to oust Michael is the very odd rules by which the Council's 'Leader' is chosen. Seems a bit harsh to me.

Let me explain how these very odd rules operate. According to standing orders the 'Leader' is chosen by the largest group - not by the Councillors who are going to be led. Its thus entirely possible that the 'Leader' has the support of only a small minority of Councillors. Lets imagine this scenario. Five groups win representation on the Council, (plus a couple of independents) - the Conservatives, the Lib Dems, Labour, the Montgomeryshire Independents, and the Powys Independents. The Powys Independents could have as few as 20% of the seats on the Council, and yet have the absolute right to appoint the 'Leader'. "No way" you retort. Well, its not that different at present - except that the Powys Independents have only about 40% of the votes. Edna tells me she heard one Councillor say something along the lines of "We can't get rid of Michael, because he's the best of what's eligible". This also a bit seems harsh to me.

I rather like Michael Jones - always been straight with me. But when I referred to him as the 'Leader, Edna laughed like a hyena. She pointed out that over the last month, Michael and his Powys Independents have had their budget proposals thrown out, - and their determined attempts today to keep Mark Kerr as Chief Executive were casually brushed aside. Must admit she's got a point when she asks what sort of leadership is that. On this occasion Edna saw the plotters (usually its her ear at a keyhole) so I know who they are. We decided that we did not want to discourage harmony at County Hall, so I begged Edna not to tell anyone else.


Anonymous said...

Well there is a deep tradition of odd leadership role in Mid Wales Glyn.
My old late pal Alderman Ben Watkins of Llanidloes sat as the "Leader" of your former Council on the Wales and UK Councils Associaition Executive - yet he was the only Labour man from your patch. Another old pal Eifion from the old Powys sat as its Leader on the UK and Wales Counties Grouping - yet led a group of only 5 !in a huge Council.
..and another Michael Jones ..(not this one) sat on all the top Executives in Wales/UK after telling everyone he was Powys Leader...the reason no one else wanted the job!

How things change?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps now we can have some effective leadership in Powys. I hope your team voted for a fresh start!

Anonymous said...

When it comes down to it - all politic is local and it does not get any more local than in Powys.

Glyn you have realy done well on this one - i dont live in your area but if i did i would be pleased to have an MP who raised the matters you are rather than being in the press for celeb girl friends, ufo sightings, chat show matters or bringing out records - realy anything but matters in his own backyard. I have voted Lib but how can you compare the like of Vince Cable with his efforts - sorry to rant.

Romam Jones is saying the right things that many of use in Radnorshire feel is wrong with our Council

Anonymous said...

It is a great pity that the Admiral was not allowed to get on and do his job. Perhaps the Councillors did not like the naval way of doing things.

I suppose the Council will now slip back into into a torpid state, not liking to be outside of their comfort zone.

Anonymous said...

Just got home and read your blog Glyn...thank heavens you are keeping us all in touch on this issue.

The latest from County Hall Llandod is that they are moving in on poor Edna.

MJ went into space with your bit on him..a reward for her scalp or or should I say being offered.

e-mails being inspected - hence my use of home lap top.

This is better than my old council!!!

by for now

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - Ben was a member of Montgomeryshire District Council during my period as Chairman between 1984-87. In fact, I succeeded him as the Council's rep on the Association of Welsh District Councils. It was very odd that Montgomeryshire sent its only Labour Councillor, ensuring that Labour had a majority on the Association. At one stage Labour had a majority of only one!

Roman - I do not know how the Councillors voted. It was a private meeting, and no-one has leaked this.

Anon - I do agree with you about politics being local. I consider the major Conservative advance at last year's Council election as hugely important to us.

Anon - I think that things have changed - as its become more political. There will not be any slipping back.

Anon - Why on earth should Michael have been concerned. Its no good blaming the messenger. Two Councillors (neither Conservatives) have raised this issue with me. If I'd posted what they said, he would have had cause for complaint. The main purpose of this post was to draw attention to the ridiculous way that the Leader is chosen - and it is ridiculous. But then, my opinion is that running a Council by an Executive Board is an unwise way of doing it.