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.