Monday, 25 March 2013

THE GREAT THANET ART THEFT 2


Following my earlier post about the alleged gross mismanagement of  Thanet Council's collection of Art and Artefacts and  the possibility that  items making up the collection may have been stolen. I reproduce a letter which sheds more light on this  worrying matter. The letter was sent to Councillor John Worrow who is Chairman of the Council's Governance & Audit Committee. The Governance and Audit Committee agreed by a vote of  5 to 4 to refer this matter to the Council's Overview Scrutiny Panel  (OSP) for a full investigation. I am the Chairman of the OSP but the views I express on this blogsite are my own personal views and do not reflect the views of the OSP who are yet to consider this matter.


WHODUNNIT?
Dear Councillor Worrow

I am writing to you as you are the Chairmanof Governance and Audit to express my concerns regarding the collection of Art and Artefacts held by Thanet District Council.My concerns are about poor auditing,lack of proper controls, missingitems, under valuation and items under insured.

 In 2005 1 brought this matterup with the then leaderof the Council Sandy Ezekieland his deputy Cllr Roger Latchford who at the time assured me that the management of the collection met all (PARAGRAPH REDACTED)

In November 2012 an audit began on the Thanet District Council Collection at the Margate Museum using volunteer supportfrom the Friendsof the Margate Museum supervised by a TDC officer.

From the audit so far interesting facts have emerged vindicating my original position.For example there are items that have more than one number on the inventory,some items are even unlisted like a 11aluable Rowlandson print. In storage the collection consists of over 680 pictureswith many suffering from neglect. There is also a "missing list" and I doubt if most items have the correct valuations or insurance cover judging by the audit so far.

I am writing to you to raise three issues.

  • Why has the collection which is a Council asset and has monetary value been allowedto be neglected for so long without a regular audit and proper controls .
  • Why were proper audit controls not put in place in 2005 when the then leader and deputy were aware there was a problem.
  • Why has the collection at the MargateMuseum never been properly auditedwhen the collection was no longermanaged by the East Kent Maritime TrustIn .2008 and handed back to TDC control.

This letter raises some extremely serious issues about how Thanet Council managed, or perhaps mismanaged a valuable and extremely important collection of Art and Artefacts.

I would recommend  that you look at Tony Ovenden's Blogsite Thanet Coast Life where even more information has been  published which appears to me to describe incompetence of the first order by Thanet Council and allegations of theft by persons in high office

Here is the link - you couldn't make this stuff up!

 http://thanetcoastlife.blogspot.co.uk/



    Sunday, 24 March 2013

    I'VE QUIT RAMSGATE TOWN COUNCIL

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. Ramsgate Town Council is not fit for purpose. Its powers are extremely limited. It duplicates functions like planning with Thanet District Council. And in these times of austerity its expensive!

    Last year Ramsgate Town Council cost the town's taxpayers  £358,000 to run. If you add together the running costs of all the Town and Parish councils in Thanet  hard pressed islanders have to pay out  an eye-watering  £800,000 a year! Surely this money would be better spent on delivering improvements to front line services like social housing or  street cleaning, rather than paying for bloated bureaucratic talking shops, full of bloated middle aged men like me,  which  members of the  public never attend.

    I say its time for the Town & Parish councils to be abolished! They should be replaced with community forums. The forums will be run by local people and will hold their elected politicians to account.  Community forums are a cheaper, more democratic alternative to the expensive waste of times we are forced to pay for now.
     
    
    VOTE FOR ME I'M ON RAMSGATE, THANET & KENT COUNTY COUNCILS.
     COULD I BE YOUR MP AS WELL? LOTS OF LOVELY JUBBLY EXPENSES INNIT

    Also the Town Councils are totally dominated by Thanet's political elite. Take Ramsgate and Broadstairs Town Council's for example. One is totally  dominated by Labour,  the other by Tories. Virtually all of these town councillors are also Thanet District Councillors and some of them like Elizabeth Green & Rick Everitt in Ramsgate are also members of, or are standing for election to, Kent County Council!

    In my book this is morally wrong! It's not right for town, district and county council politics to be dominated  by the same old, same old faces and the same old, same old  parties. This is a democratic dictatorship!  And like all dictatorships in history it  lays the foundations for bad-practice, mismanagement and corruption!
     
    I say laws should be passed to stop these  so-called double and treble hatters from running our local affairs like medieval Barons. Politicians should only be allowed to be members of One Council and One Council only at the same time.  I also believe that all  politicians from the House of Lords &  The House of Commons downwards should only be allowed to serve a maximum of 2 terms of office in a row. Last  but not least we need a fair system of voting which  means that you vote really counts!


    These changes are long over due and will, in my opinion, restore confidence in politics and encourage a lot more people to get involved breaking the stranglehold of the medieval Barons once and for all.

    As far as my  position is concerned,  I resigned from Ramsgate Town Council with immediate effect on 22 March.  If you elect me to represent Ramsgate at  Kent County Council in May I will also resign my position on Thanet District Council.  I hope my colleague candidates will do the same!

    My resignation from Ramsgate Town Council, will unfortunately cost money, but I have spoken to Council officers and have been assured that by resigning on 22 March, any by election could take place on the same day as the KCC election, keeping costs to a minimum.

     I am fighting this election on my own against the Big Party machines. I need all the help I can get. So If you want to help me by delivering leaflets, displaying a poster, or perhaps a small donation towards my election expenses please contact me at ianddriver@yahoo.co.uk

    Thursday, 21 March 2013

    THE GREAT THANET ART THEFT?

    Tonight I attended a  meeting of Thanet Council's  Governance and Audit Committee. A letter was discussed which claimed that the Council's large collection of art and artefacts had not been properly managed over a long period of time, especially the collections held at the Margate Museum. It was claimed that there were no complete inventories of the Council's collections. That many of the valuable treasures had been badly stored and damaged and worst of all that art treasures were missing.

    Some councillors at the meeting made reference to historic posters of the Beatles and Des O'Connor (who's he?)  from the Winter Gardens and old pictures of Thanet, which are quite valuable, going missing and turning up  for sale across the island. Not that I am suggesting anything, but apparently no checks were made on the background of  volunteers working in the Margate Museum.  It was suggested that volunteers were given free and unfettered access to the the museum often being allowed to to work in the building on their own. Keys were copied and nobody knew who had them. Council officers advised the meeting that it was only relatively recently that the locks were changed.

    Going back to the letter it was claimed that when this appalling mismanagement of the Council's treasures was brought to the attention of  two senior councillors (one  retired and one still serving), the matter was not taken seriously and a freedom of information requests about the Council's art collection was  obstructed.

    Apparently efforts are now being made to catalogue the collection and identify what works of art have  gone missing or have been damaged. A retired museum manager has been hired for this purpose for about £10,000.

    However the Council's Chief Executive said that this work was not a priority and that only limited work will be done. It was also confirmed that no written procedures have ever been in place about cataloguing and valuing the Council's treasures.

    Councillors voted to  pass this sorry mess on to the Overview and Scrutiny Panel for investigation and recommendations for action. This will, I am sure, be a fascinating project and who know what might come out of it?

    IFinally, I happen to be the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel. The views I have expressed on this blogsite about this issues are my own personal views and not those of the OSP.

    I am fighting this election on my own against the Big Party machines. I need all the help I can get. So If you want to help me by delivering leaflets, displaying a poster, or perhaps a small donation towards my election expenses please contact me at ianddriver@yahoo.co.uk

    Monday, 18 March 2013

    TELL THE TRUTH & SHAME THE DEVIL



    I recently published secret Thanet Council reports about the Ramsgate Pleasurama Development. The Council then threatened to take me to court at the public expense to stop me from releasing information which is is of great of public interest to the people of Ramsgate. In this  short video I explain what happened.

    Vote for me for KCC and I will continue to fight for open and honest government. Because without transparency bad practice, mismanagement and corruption will thrive.

    I am fighting this election on my own against the Big Party machines. I need all the help I can get. So If you want to help me by delivering leaflets, displaying a poster, or perhaps a small donation towards my election expenses please contact me at ianddriver@yahoo.co.uk


    VOTE ME TO ABOLISH KCC

    KCC is out of touch with and too distant from Thanet!

    Maidstone is hardly a suitable place for decisions to be made about Ramsgate, Margate or Broadstairs . Much better would be a new East Kent Coastal Authority which takes in Canterbury, Dover, Shepway and Thanet. These districts have many issues in common, not least of which  is the desperate need for inward investment and regeneration. These Districts share incredibly valuable resources such as our beautiful coastline which can generate wealth and jobs for local people. These Districts are already co-operating extremely closely with joint council tax collection, joint housing services,  single IT and Human Resources functions so why not go the whole hog  break up the KCC monolith and set up a more natural local government structure in the form of an East Kent Authority?
     
    Replacing KCC with a more local system of government  will also save  the hard-pressed tax payers of East Kent £millions as more efficiencies are identified and  duplication rooted out.

    If elected to Kent County Council I will immediately begin a major public campaign  to replace the bloated behemoth  KCC with a slimmer, fitter more local East Kent Coastal Authority which  truly understands the issues we face. I am sure that such a  campaign will attract massive public support.

    I am fighting this election on my own against the Big Party machines. I need all the help I can get. So If you want to help me by delivering leaflets, displaying a poster, or perhaps a small donation towards my election expenses please contact me at ianddriver@yahoo.co.uk

    Sunday, 17 March 2013

    SNOUTS IN THE TROUGH


    
    Virtually all of the Ramsgate candidates (myself included) for the forthcoming Kent County elections are already Ramsgate Town Councillors and/ or Thanet District Councillors.  If elected to Kent County Council some of these candidates could become  members of THREE  different councils!
    In my opinion that’s a democratic dictatorship! It’s not healthy. It’s not a good way to encourage new people and new ideas into local politics. Having the same people holding all the power is a recipe for potential conflicts of interest, mismanagement and  bad practice. It also increases the possibility of corruption because there are fewer checks and balances. Not that I am suggesting for a moment that anyone fighting this seat is corrupt.

    In an ideal world there would be rules to prevent people from being so-called double and treble hatters. However, in the absence of such rules, if elected to Kent County Council I will resign my seats on Ramsgate Town Council and Thanet District Council and concentrate on the work of one Council. I ask all other candidates in a similar position to think about doing the same.

    Thanet District Councillors are paid a basic allowance of £4,000 per year. Some get a lot more for extra responsibilities. Myself and fellow election candidate Rick Everett for example earn an extra £8,000 each for chairing committees or being Cabinet members.  If any of us are lucky enough to be elected to Kent County Council we will also be able to claim a minimum of  £12,805 plus travel expenses for our KCC duties. That means if you are already a Thanet Councillor it’s possible to earn a minimum of £17,000, or in mine and Rick Everitt's cases  £25,000  per year!
    If elected to KCC in May I promise I will resign from Thanet Council and concentrate on the work of one Council rather than taking allowances from 2 Councils. I call on all other candidates in a similar position to consider doing the same.

     
    I am fighting this election on my own against the Big Party machines. I need all the help I can get. So If you want to help me by delivering leaflets, displaying a poster, or perhaps a small donation towards  my election expenses please contact me at ianddriver@yahoo.co.uk

     

    WHO AM I?


    
    
     
    I am standing as an INDEPENDENT candidate for Ramsgate in the Kent County Council elections on May 2nd.  If you elect me I will become the first INDEPENDENT candidate to be elected to Kent County Council in living memory. So come on vote for me and lets make history together!
    I am a fat, bald, middle aged man, married with 3 daughters who I love to bits. I am learning to play the guitar (badly). I love music of all kinds, I like going to the pub and eating curry.  I love the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway but I am becoming too big to fit in the carriages.  

    I am a Thanet District Councillor and Chairman of the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Panel. I am outspoken, have strong opinions and campaign on local issues like

    • Calling for the sacking of Pleasurama developers, SFP Ventures UK Ltd, for 10 years of failure and the creation of an “appalling seafront eyesore” in Ramsgate.
    • Setting up  the campaign to stop  “barbaric and cruel”  live animal exports from the Port of Ramsgate, which is backed by the RSPCA, Joanna Lumley and Ramsgate MP Laura Sandys
    • Setting up a major  Council enquiry into the  pollution of Thanet’s beaches with raw sewage By Southern Water in 2012.
    • Publishing  secret documents and being  threatened with legal action in my campaign to end Thanet Council’s regime of secrecy  
    • Speaking out against corruption in public life
    • Condemning  Thanet Council’s plans to “stuff the pockets" of well-paid managers whilst robbing the lowest paid workers 
    • Campaigning against national health service cuts in Thanet
    I used to be the manager of Thanet Citizens Advice  Bureau and now work for an older person’s welfare charity. Through my work, I have seen some of the awful poverty and misery that many people in Thanet are forced to endure because of uncaring Government (both Labour and Conservative) policies. This is why I got involved in politics and this why I am passionate about fairness, honest government and justice!

    For more information about my policies follow this link

    http://vote4driver.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/my-election-manifesto.html

    I am fighting this election on my own against the Big Party machines. I need all the help I can get. So If you want to help me by delivering leaflets, or perhaps a small donation towards to my election expenses please contact me at ianddriver@yahoo.co.uk