The Public Aroma Test

Hold your nose and avoid the bad odour of our borough’s internal fixation of absent elected members.

To the Borough Solicitor “In the cases of absent elected members of the West Lancashire Borough Council. Thank you for this reply, which does not provide a complete answer to my questions. I suppose we council tax payers must abide by the West Lancashire Borough Council policy you are following. It is a disgrace and insults specifically the electorates of Ashurst and Aughton & Downholland but all other electors who witness it. Paying £800 of taxpayers’ money is truly an abomination and simply demonstrates the lack of any financial diligence”.

To the Borough Legal & Democratic Services Manager in response to our request made under Freedom of Information which was “Please now supply me with any news of the hoped for expulsion of Cllr Currie from Council in view of his current claims of a) living in Haskayne and b) his public statement by twitter he now lives and works in London,” –

From Legal & Democratic Services Manager “As previously advised on 21 April 2020, disqualification of a Councillor is prescribed in law under the following circumstances only; holding paid employment as an officer of the authority, being declared bankrupt, being sentenced to imprisonment of 3 months or more, disqualified for financial offences under the Representation of the People Act 1983, or being found guilty of corrupt or illegal practices by an election court. A vacancy may also occur, as prescribed in law, following resignation, death and failure to attend meetings for a consecutive period of at least 6 months (unless a local authority were to approve the absence). The Council is not aware that Councillor Currie falls within any of these criteria.

To the Legal & Democratic Services Manager “and c) proof of any case work Cllr Currie has done physically in my ward.”

From the Legal & Democratic Services Manager– “Councillors manage their own casework, you therefore may wish to contact Councillor Currie directly to request this information, although under GDPR and confidentiality he would not be able to share personal information from residents. Councillor Currie’s contact details can be found on the Council’s website via the following link: https://democracy.westlancs.gov.uk/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=239

To the Legal & Democratic Services Manager “Thank you for your reply. There are areas of concern about absent elected members that seem not to be covered by it. The first is of backsliding, inasmuch as morally any elected member should undertake fully the duties ascribed to them. Are we to sit and watch absentee elected members insult us, taxpayers, while they take advantage of the allowances they receive for duties not undertaken by their backsliding?

“Where is the acceptance by absent elected members of standards of behaviour required of them? It seems that some elected members consider their personal behaviour to outweigh the duty they accepted. They have apparently become a privileged class, at a cost to taxpayers.

“So how can we hold absent councillors to account for the taxes we paid for representation? Why do we have to tolerate them and their patronising attitude to us?

“You suggest I should approach Cllr Currie about his casework in Aughton & Downholland Ward and I wonder by what statute or other lawful means any elector is, or might be, required to seek proof of the duty which was committed to and promised by election?

“I refer back to the disgraceful matter of the long absence without notice of an Ashurst Ward elected member who by some legalise was legitimised at a cost of £800 to taxpayers. If the standards of these two elected members becomes precedent what is to stop any other or multiple members repeating it for their own benefit?

“The electorate deserves better than this. I notice that Cllr Currie was “virtually present” at the “virtual meeting” of the Corporate and Environmental Overview and Scrutiny Meeting of 11th June 2020, which presumably starts another six months of his immunity from rejection from office. This is simply an extension of the farce by which his London residence is immaterial to his duties in West Lancashire.

“I’d be grateful for consideration of these points and an explanation of any legal advice specific to the rights of any WLBC council elector/tax payer who feels aggrieved by the behaviour of these backsliders”.

And there we have it. The public stitched up. Taxation without the representation the manifestos all promise. 

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