Your thoughts on the 'email-gate' scandal at Fenland District Council

PUBLISHED: 13:53 11 December 2009 | UPDATED: 09:24 02 June 2010

Tory party meeting at Fenland Hall
Geoff Harper quits

Tory party meeting at Fenland Hall Geoff Harper quits

HERE are your thoughts on the 'email-gate' scandal that this week rocked Fenland District Council. Geoff Harper resigned as leader at a Tory group meeting on Wednesday and Fred Yeulett was outsted as deputy leader.

HERE are your thoughts on the 'email-gate' scandal that last week rocked Fenland District Council, leaving it without a leader or a deputy leader.

• This one party monopoly isn't at all good for Fenland. Could the council do us all a big favour and resign en bloc?

As for Melton, he has a history of attempting to run FDC as his own personal fiefdom. It would be a bad move if he was appointed as FDC leader. Try putting it to a vote of the whole electorate and seek the opinion of the electorate.

We in Fenland deserve a few independent minds on the council not a bunch of 'yes' men!

RICHARD STIMSON

• IF a one-party majority of 39 to one cannot bring Fenland out of the dark ages, what hope is there for the replacement Leader?

Let us all hope that we can get some Labour, Lib Dems, UKIP, Independents etc onto the council next time around.

An elected Mayor could not have done worse than this motley crew as my "vision" was not to have any current councillor as Mayor - nor, indeed, anyone from this area.

ROBERT PINNOCK

• RICHARD Stimson has commented that all councillors are, in his opinion, "yes men". If that were the case it seems unlikely that the leader and deputy leader would have just left their jobs, don't you think?

In fact, it's very far from the truth. The councillors at Fenland District Council are independently-minded and passionate about their jobs representing the people of Fenland.

In a "yes man" type organisation you don't get arguments or disagreements or situations like we have just observed. In fact, this whole situation is about as far from a group of "yes men" as it's possible to get.

In a perfect world there would never be disagreement. We don't live in a perfect world. What you are seeing is healthy democracy at work, in all its occasionally-messy glory.

CLLR STEVE TIERNEY

Cambridgeshire County Council

• WHAT a sad day when senior members of Fenland District Council find it necessary to resign from their post because other council members want to throw mud.

Cllr Harper's age should not be his main reason to resign - in fact his age-gained wisdom should be the main reason to stay. Mr Harper will be sadly missed.

Surely one person's inability to keep private and confidential emails PRIVATE should be the one to go.

Anon

FDC employee

• IN response to Cllr Tierney: don't let the facts get in the way! The council leader resigned, but he was going early anyway. The deputy leader was voted out of his job.

If Fenland councillors are so independently minded, as you claim, how come the Council Tax has risen annually well above the rate of inflation for a considerable number of years? The increase has been voted through on the nod without demure.

If that's an example of 'passionate representing' then we would be better off with less passion and a bit more thought.

And I refuse to accept that the system we have today is democratic. Most of the Fenland representatives were voted in with much less than 50 per cent of the available electorate.

RICHARD STIMSON

• RICHARD Stimson is a man after my own heart. We don’t want a re-run of Cllr Melton’s leadership thank you.

Many of us won’t forget his attempt when he was last leader, to force through one of the highest Council Tax increases in the country only to have it capped by the government and having to eat humble pie as a result.

One-party monopoly rule is against the public interest and leads to councillors being muzzled and having to toe the party line.

The situation at Fenland District Council has been simmering below the surface for a long time and it’s to be hoped they can elect a leader who doesn’t have previous form, who will enable the councillors who represent us to take back control from the non-elected officers. But I wouldn’t hold your breath.

REG KEMP

• RICHARD Stimson, you seem to have ignored my point that people don’t get “voted out of their job” (as you so eloquently put it) when they are surrounded by “yes men”. The evidence and revelations decry your argument.

You then have a go about Council Tax as if you presume that these decisions are made without any debate, without any dissent and without any discussion.

Of course, that’s not the case at all I can assure you. Council Tax is a difficult and contentious issue and people take different views. Nevertheless, compared nationally, Cambridgeshire’s Council Tax remains one of the lower rates.

My own position concerning tax rises of all kinds is spelled out clearly on my blog this week in case you wanted to debate the issue more thoroughly there. You would be very welcome. (click here to view)

I was bemused by your criticism of our local democracy. The nature of Western democracy is that each person gets a vote, if they choose to use it, and the victor is the person with the most votes. We cannot and should not “compel” people to vote who, for whatever reason, do not wish to.

The Conservatives who have won seats in Fenland and in Cambridgeshire all did so fair and square with the majority votes. That’s democracy. You might not personally like the result, but it was the fair decision of the people who live here.

All that 50 per cent means in a system with more than two parties involved is that the candidate had enough to beat all the others put together. Very nice if you can achieve it, but any sort of majority is enough for a legitimate mandate. And for the record, plenty of Conservatives won with 50 per cent or more despite being up against multiple parties.

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my comment. I enjoy and appreciate constructive argument, even when I do not agree.

CLLR STEVE TIERNEY

AS an original member of Fenland District Council in 1973, and a past chairman, I am much saddened by the present posturing by a parade of mostly mediocrities.

Some of us thought in the 1970s that there was at least one-too-many tiers of government in this country. Now is the time to seriously consider whether or not Fenland District Council is superfluous.

Whoever is chosen as the new leader, I hope it will not be a past walking disaster area.

ROGER HEADING

• ROGER Heading hits the nail on the head with his comment about there being too many tiers of local government in Fenland. Two's company - three's a crowd is the phrase that springs to mind.

I would give the town councils much more responsibility and power (the nearer the people the better).

Government would be responsible for Social Services and Education (they virtually run them anyway but don't carry the can if anything goes wrong). A regional authority should be responsible for Highways (broader strategy).

Goodbye County Council and your plush offices, free meals for councillors, £8,000-plus a year allowances and final salary pensions!

REG KEMP

• I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with Roger Heading. There are too many levels of local government.

Whether it is Fenland District Council or Cambridgeshire County Council which is superflous is a moot point.

But not only are there too many levels there are also too many councillors and un-elected local government officials, especially highly paid ones!

RICHARD STIMSON

• Email your thoughts by clicking here.


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