Monday, 8 September 2014

Appointment of permanent Chief Executive delayed until new year

I was not allowed to speak to the Full Council about the appointment of a permanent Chief Executive of Brent Council that should have started straight after the May local elections.

Instead of allowing me to speak Cllr Butt, leader of the Council addressed the issue in his report at the beginning of the meeting. He said Christine Gilbert, Acting Chief Executive, would be busy over the next few months working on the Borough Plan.  However, he said the Council was now stable and a recruitment process would start in the new year and be completed by the AGM.

This will amount to another extension of some six months or more.

When the issue of the 'tweets in error' and subsequent speaking ban was raised  by John Warren of the Brondesbury Conservative Group, Fiona Ledden told him, 'The matter has been dealt with by correspondence between myself and Mr Francis'.


  1. Must be a shock to the system, Martin; from Greens conference openness to this bunch of chisellers and chancers in 24 hours. I fear for your health.
    Mike Hine

  2. Cross-post from WM 'Ledden claims...':

    Like Philip Grant, I too wrote to Muhammed Butt, ccing deputy leader Mike Pavey, about Martin's live question on the appointment of a permanent chief exec. Like him, I've received no reply.

    I'm growing increasingly to dislike Fiona Ledden's tone. Of course the blocking of Martin Francis question about Christine Gilbert's appointment hasn't been 'dealt with in correspondence'. Who does Ms Ledden think she is is being economical with the truth? As for Cllr Butt, he's done himself, nor the cause of democracy in Brent, any favours by refusing to stand up for transparency. He has only himself to blame if this matter backfires - as indeed do the rest of the 'cabinet'. In denying Martin the right to ask a public-interest question publicly, choosing instead to shelter behind Ms Ledden, Brent's leader has shown that democratic debate doesn't feature on his agenda.

  3. Martin, you have twice been promised by Fiona Ledden that you would get a written response from Cllr Butt to the point which you raised (as a "Deputation") about the appointment of a permanent Chief Executive for the borough. The closing sentence of her email to you of 5 September (postedin the Comments section of the earlier blog) reads:
    'I confirm again the leader will write answering the question that you have raised.'

    Would you please give us a blog which sets out in full the text of the Deputation which you sent to Fiona Ledden on 1 September and the written reply to it which you receive(d) from Cllr. Butt.

    That way, at least all those interested in this matter, including the Brent Councillors who follow the Wembley Matters blog (at least two of whom referred to you by name, and the views you have expressed, at last night's Council meeting) and have been deprived of the answer which should have been given publicly to the Full Council, will know what has been said.

    Philip Grant.

  4. Thanks Philip, your support has been invaluable. I did not ask a question. This is what I wrote to Democratic Services at the address Brent Council gave on Twitter:

    I would like to speak to Full Council on September 8th on the subject of the appointment of a permanent Chief Executive.

    I have received no written 'reply' to that non-question. The only written correspondence has been from Fiona Ledden denying me the deputation.

  5. 'Who runs Brent?'

    That's the question residents need to ask themselves following last night's full council meeting. Contrary to Fiona Ledden's written blather gagging Martin Francis from speaking on the matter of the chief executive, Muhammed Butt clearly understood - presumably from the adverse publicity this stupid course of action received - that he'd better say something in public. And so we now learn that Christine Gilbert is to stay on for another six months, a different excuse being given for this further extension of the previously off-payroll chief exec. Who made this decision? Mo Butt needs to explain why this absurd game of musical-chairs continues. It's hard to believe Ms Gilbert is indispensable. Meantime, it'll be interesting to read Ms Ledden's - or will it be Mo Butt's? - 'written response to [Martin's] question in due course'. As for the rest of Brent's Labour members, they were clearly more concerned with voting through their expenses' increase than standing up for democracy. And this Tory-lite party expects to form a national government in May next year? LOL - this party of the Union (not the unions) has signed up to an effective 'Devo Max' plan for Scotland which is less generous to Scots than that of the Tories! As is increasingly being said of the political class - you really couldn't make it up.

  6. LOL! Mo Butt is correct - 'The council is now stable'. After the zipped lips of Labour councillors over Martin's question, the leader can rely on no-one rocking the party's narrow-boat. What a shameful episode.