LETTER: Open and honest use of powers

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More rubbish from council leader Cllr Ray Dawe in his piece last week (‘Yes, please, to more decision-making at a local level’, 11.12.14, p55).

Did Cllr Dawe intend to be ironic when he wrote: ‘There has been a lot of talk about localism but the reality has not been borne out by action to allow this’.

Well, how has Cllr Dawe used the current powers vested in the council he rules? It was Cllr Dawe with his deputy Cllr Croft (Roffey North) who both ‘presided over a kangaroo court run in secret’ to decide the future of Cllr Mitchell last year in an attempt to gag him and force others to kowtow to the cabinet’s views on building in the Strategic Gap. Was this an appropriate use of his local powers?

Further on 21.9.13, Cllr Dawe emailed Cllr Mitchell (who at the time was deputy chairman and traditionally the deputy becomes chairman) stating: ‘I am not willing to support any nomination for you as Council Chairman next year. I will over the weekend be deciding on an email that I will be sending to the HDC Conservative Group’ (WSCT, 6.3.14, p13).

It was revealed by Cllr Peter Burgess that a three-line whip was imposed in the parachuting in of Cllr O’Connell into the role of chairman-elect at the February 2014 council meeting. Cllr O’Connell was Deputy Cabinet Member for Planning at the time. Were these uses of local power by Cllr Dawe appropriate?

This has been a year when many respondents to your paper have expressed annoyance at the way Cllr Dawe and his cabinet colleagues have used (is that the right word?) their power. Trust has gone.

To many, the actions of Cllr Dawe show that he doesn’t believe in ‘localism’ .

Localism doesn’t mean that Cllr Dawe can push through council what he wants - unchallenged after holding lots of discussions in secret.

If there is to be more ‘localism’ – we need a different bunch in control of the council – who genuinely believe that decision-making affecting local people must involve local people in an open and honest way.

Dr GEOFFREY RICHARDSON

Tennyson Close, Horsham