So, following on from yesterday's piece about JoCo's fibbing to Leftlion, here's what happened next.
Rather than barge in accusing JoCo of untruths I thought it would be an idea to give him the opportunity to publicly explain himself. After all, there could have been further developments since that report four years ago. So I submitted a question to be answered at full council in the following terms -
"In a recent interview with local magazine Leftlion, Cllr Jon Collins was asked about the mis-allocation of council houses and the perceived lack of action taken.
In reply Cllr Collins stated -
"A number of people were prosecuted and lost their jobs, others had formal warnings and several of the houses in question were re-allocated."
The report to the Council's Executive Board in December 2010 said that no houses had been re-possessed due to legal arguments being weak, one right-to-buy application was being contested and one overpaid right to buy discount had been recovered and that was it.
As far as disciplinary action was concerned, one agency worker was let go, three permanent staff were investigated, in only one case was disciplinary action pursued and a final warning was issued.
Of course, it may be that more things had happened since that report, despite it being presented as a final summary. Perhaps the leader could update citizens with the full picture of action taken and thus explain the apparent inconsistency.
Lastly, did the City Council explore the possibility of individuals being charged with misconduct in public office? Was any advice sought on this possibility? If so, what was this advice?"
Want to know what happened? They refused to let the question be asked. The reply I received on 4 December 2014 was as follows -
"The Lord Mayor has considered your question and decided that it should receive a departmental written response. This is because it relates to a historical issue that has been addressed in Council questions and other public forums already."
I wrote back to challenge this and received the following the next day -
"The Lord Mayor decides which questions are asked at the Full Council meeting and has made the decision that this question should receive a written response.
I have spoken with the department and they have confirmed that the position given in the Executive Board report you have referred to is still the position so I’m sorry but there is no further information that can be provided."
I should first of all say that I've received no departmental written response so far and I don't expect to get one. The minutes of the full council meeting on 8 December 2014 falsely state the following -
"No questions from citizens were
The upshot of this is that JoCo can hardly claim that he wasn't given an opportunity to explain himself in a high profile public forum. After all, he was the one moaning that nobody wanted to report the end findings of the enquiry and said that things should be done 'as transparently as possible'.
It also means that the Lord Mayor, Cllr Ian Malcolm, is prepared to spike citizens' questions to council if they might be embarrassing to the Politburo which essentially makes the whole thing meaningless. According the the Lord Mayor's webpage his key task is -
"To act as the a-political figurehead of the City Council; champion of
the city of Nottingham and its people and symbolise the social cohesion
of the city and its many cultures and faith"
Note the 'a-political' (sic) bit. He should be ashamed of himself.
The one thing the replies do confirm is that no further progress has been made since the Executive Board report, in turn confirming that JoCo's Leftlion comments were indeed a flight of fancy.
Cllr Jon Collins, your pants are on fire.
The Cockle Man of Nottingham
11 hours ago