1 July 2009

Right to a reply?

At last week's Town Council meeting, Cllr Paddy Keenan seemed very interested in the concept of 'right to reply' and its an interesting subject to discuss.

Take, for example, the right of a ratepayer/voter to be able to write to their Town Council and, not unreasonably, to expect and to receive a coherent reply. Its not a very complicated idea and its all about engagement with the community. Communication. Being accountable.

But that seems to be a bit too advanced for a clown show like Somerton Town Council. Even with a very well paid, full-time Town Clerk, Somerton Town Council can't manage to put toner to paper and reply to reasonable enquiries from rate payers and voters. The last blog carried a reproduction of a letter from August of 2008 which went unanswered and below you can see a letter from September of 2008 which also went unanswered.

But mere voters and rate payers aren't the only people who are ignored by Somerton's Town Council. In February of 2008 the letter below was sent to Mr David Heath, MP and, as a result, Mr Heath wrote to Somerton Town Council. Response? Nothing. The Town Clerk claims that an acknowledgment was sent but that isn't quite the same as a reply, is it?

Somerton Town Council are very well resourced, as the accounts prove. There is a full time Town Clerk, handsomely rewarded for duties which cannot be described as onerous. So why can't the Town Council reply to letters of enquiry. The answer is because the Town Council don't give a damn about the community. Somerton Town Council is only interested in doing property deals and using the community's money to make them happen.

Have a look at the Precept curve from a couple of blogs back and ask yourself what, if anything has Somerton received in return for the massive hike in Precept? At the same time, you might ask who were the councillors who engineered that hike? What was their agenda?

So when the awfully glib Cllr. Keenan rants on about a 'right to reply', once again, he would be well advised to take a long hard look in the mirror. But Muck&brass forgets one thing. Somerton Town Council's motto is 'Do as I say, not as I do.".

Till next time, look out for the pigs in the trough.