Thursday, 3 December 2015

Corrupt Kent election: letter to Madeline Homer TDC CEO

Dear Madeline

I wanted to write to you regarding the Cllr Vince Munday election for TDC and RTC.

I understand TDC have issued a strange notice on 1st/2nd December requesting candidates before 5th December ie two days’ time (tomorrow) for an election on 21st January?

Clearly 4 days or so is far too short a notice for candidates (or even as the notice says for the election to happen?) – can you advise on detail/electoral Best Practice?

Also any Returning Officer fees: I understand the £62k general election fee can be returned/not claimed? It seems excessive given most of the electoral process is handled by volunteers.

I’m also unclear why the election is referred to “a Casual vacancy for Office of Councillor”? Presumably it simply means a notice of an election for a councillor?


No information is provided on the Ramsgate Town Council election – for which Vince Munday also sat.
Indeed it seems the May 2015 RTC election never actually took place?

And there may be confusion over TDC and RTC elections being separately contested rather than pseudo/auto-elections as currently with TDC Margate and Margate Charter Trustee seats.

RTC was never intended to be doublehatters of TDC nor the public excluded from standing as Mayor. TDC’s own survey of c.3 years ago showed elected Mayors as in other towns were viable.

Please advise what has been going on.

I’m sure as Returning Office and TDC CEO and £400k funder of RTC you take a British election very seriously in making sure it is both well run and free and fair.

I’d also highlight the previously run TDC elections/ballot boxes in May as not ideal: ballot boxes not opened and counted. Delays in count. LibDem illegal civil servant candidate etc.

Separately, given TDC’s reputation for corruption as cited by Private Eye and Local Government Association and even TDC’s own Scrutiny Committee before their resignation en-masse(!) can I flag up:

1. Pleasurama/British Virgin islands corruption – can you advise given since February 2015 the project could have been cancelled yet TDC seem to have reissued the project with Steve Keegan of BVI and Cardy the builders?
2. 0% fraud by your predecessor McGonigal
3. 100 Se Rd garden grabbing: not just breaching every national guidelines but TDC’s own policies
4. Contamination at Thor, Manston, Poorhole Lane and SW sewers and beaches – it seems strange the latter given a clean bill of health after 20 tons of shit were dumped on the beaches at least once? And TDC seems to have ignored the extensive and worsening pollution at these sites no doubt affecting the health of the population
5. Infratil and Gloag: missing monitors, pollution and fines
6. The sale of Minster war memorial: who put this up for sale and how much is expected? I’d like to offer a shiny new penny. Perhaps more if it sits over war-graves?
7. General confusion over housing for Thanet eg 15k plus 3k at Manston plus Discovery Park plus 15k EKO?
8. TDC seems to be slipping back into its bad old ways of seeking exemptions to FOI rather than the presumption of FOI: please clarify how many/what reasons FOI – or EIR – requests are sought by TDC in 2015. Presumably a Public Interest for EIR would be approved outside TDC rather than effectively marking its own homework?
9. Pegwell Bay/NEMO Link: construction work through a SSSI/UNESCO site
10. Port/Marina: slipways construction work without review for the UK’s only Grade 1 listed and Royal Harbour
11. Repair work for Eastcliff Bandstand: again a Grade 1 Listed and derelict for over 15 years if not 40 years.
12. Ramsgate £1M Fire station/2nd swimming pool the former wasteful and latter needed for seaside towns

I appreciate some of these did not become your direct responsibility until c.6 months ago but they are now.
I’ve copied Kent Police, Electoral Commission and OESCE who are responsible for supervision of elections and the former also for Misconduct in Public Office prosecutions.

Also Michael Gove Justice Minister and Greg Clark Local Government Minister for Parliamentary review. And I’ll place this note on my KCC/MP blog for public review.

If it helps, please consider this note as notice that the January election is required albeit with time for candidates etc. And bearing in mind TDC closures over the Xmas holidays.

4 days for a British election notice is almost deliberately ridiculous.

Can I as an EIR request have specifics of the c.£20M total, salaries/pensions./cars/expenses by TDC department – presumably any existing councillor/candidate would need this info to evaluate council performance?

Finally, should external monitors supervise the election?

Please advise within the TDC service guidelines of 10 days.

Kindest regards

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