Tories stay in control of Herefordshire Council but IOC ousted from "top table" committee posts

HEREFORDSHIRE Council’s ruling Tory group will continue control as a minority administration until two by-elections decide its fate.

Though the Tories are 27-29 down against the overall opposition vote, their rule was not challenged at this  morning’s (Friday) meeting of the full council.

Cllr Tony Johnson was returned as council leader  with one vote against and five abstentions.

But It’s Our County (IOC) lost its control of the council’s key overview and scrutiny committee to a Tory-Independent double act.

Independent group leader Cllr Sebastian Bowen ousted Cllr Alan Seldon as scrutiny chairman and Tory Cllr Barry Durkin replaces Cllr Liz Harvey as deputy chairman.

Despite that deal being sealed behind the scenes, IOC leader Cllr Anthony Powers proposed  Cllrs Seldon and Harvey kept their roles.

Proposed by Cllr John Hardwick, Cllr Bowen, who did not sit on overview and scrutiny,  beat Cllr Seldon to chairman by 41 votes to 8 with 2 abstentions.

Cllr Durkin,  proposed by Cllr Patricia Morgan,  beat Cllr Harvey to vice-chair by 35 votes to 12 with 4 abstentions.

IOC roundly attacked the Tory-Independent alliance that forced the party from its top table places .

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Harvey said that up until this week it had been assumed that she and Cllr Seldon would continue in their roles for another year.

“Strong scrutiny does not guarantee good leadership, but fear of strong scrutiny is a clear indication of poor leadership,” she said.

Cllr Bowen is now expected to stand down as leader of the Independent group  with former leader Cllr Bob Matthews stepping up to see the group through to next year’s council election.

 

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Bowen confirmed that he was “considering his position” with the group due to decide on the direction of its leadership.

Other appointments confirmed this morning are:

- Chairman of Planning: Cllr Phil Cutter (elected unopposed)

- Vice-Chairman of Planning: Cllr Polly Andrews (beat Cllr Dave Greenow 33-14 with 4 abstentions)

- Chairman of Health & Social Care Scrutiny: Cllr Carl Attwood (unopposed)

- Vice-Chairman of Health and  Social Care Scrutiny: Cllr Marcelle Lloyd-Hayes (unopposed)

- Chairman of Audit and Governance: Cllr John Jarvis (elected with 5 abstentions)

- Vice-Chairman of Audit and Governance: Cllr Liz Chave (unopposed)

- Chairman of Regulatory Committee: Cllr Alan Seldon (unopposed)

- Vice-Chairman of Regulatory Committee – Cllr Phil Edwards (unopposed)


Cllr Olwyn Barnett was elected as Council Chairman for another term with 1 vote against and 2 abstentions, Cllr John Stone was elected unopposed as deputy chairman.

The formal appointment of a deputy leader to the council is yet to be confirmed.

By-elections are due in Ledbury and Leominster South, seats held by the Tories but currently vacant after  the deaths of Cllr Peter Watts and Cllr Roger Hunt

Comments (13)

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1:55pm Fri 23 May 14

grandstand12 says...

So who are these joke 'councillors' who abstain from crucial voting? These people are voted in to make important decisions then hide behind the 'I think I will abstain from this vote' mentality. Are they afraid of upsetting someone...or are they getting a nice little backhander to ensure the candidate is elected? Will they be named in the minutes of the meeting so the public can see who these people are?
So who are these joke 'councillors' who abstain from crucial voting? These people are voted in to make important decisions then hide behind the 'I think I will abstain from this vote' mentality. Are they afraid of upsetting someone...or are they getting a nice little backhander to ensure the candidate is elected? Will they be named in the minutes of the meeting so the public can see who these people are? grandstand12
  • Score: 15

2:25pm Fri 23 May 14

Hereford person says...

Yes they will be named in the minutes but we will never know why they abstained.
Yes they will be named in the minutes but we will never know why they abstained. Hereford person
  • Score: 0

4:45pm Fri 23 May 14

TwoWheelsGood says...

831.
831. TwoWheelsGood
  • Score: 0

5:02pm Fri 23 May 14

megilleland says...

A bit odd this, but looks like the Independents are preventing the Tories from getting out before the 2015 elections. The Tories have made so many **** ups, that may be it is just, that they should stay up to the end so as not to blame some one else. A week in politics is not a long time and a year just a little bit longer, but I will be glad to see them all go next year.
A bit odd this, but looks like the Independents are preventing the Tories from getting out before the 2015 elections. The Tories have made so many **** ups, that may be it is just, that they should stay up to the end so as not to blame some one else. A week in politics is not a long time and a year just a little bit longer, but I will be glad to see them all go next year. megilleland
  • Score: 6

7:18pm Fri 23 May 14

Cllr Liz Harvey says...

That's politics. We just don't have the headcount at the moment to counter this sort of thing ... So that's me 'spending more time with the family' as the saying goes. :-)
That's politics. We just don't have the headcount at the moment to counter this sort of thing ... So that's me 'spending more time with the family' as the saying goes. :-) Cllr Liz Harvey
  • Score: 1

7:31pm Fri 23 May 14

flamboyant says...

Pardon my ignorance but what exactly is the function of overview and scrutiny? What powers do they have what decisions do they make?
Pardon my ignorance but what exactly is the function of overview and scrutiny? What powers do they have what decisions do they make? flamboyant
  • Score: 2

10:35pm Fri 23 May 14

Cllr Liz Harvey says...

Flamboyant - in a cabinet system of governance the scrutiny committee/s are made up of opposition and non-cabinet members of the administration. Their job is to examine decisions causing concern, contribute to and shape policy and hold the executive/cabinet to account. They have to be politically balanced - i.e. have the same ratio of councillors from each political group as the council as a whole.

The smaller the administrative group, the smaller and less able the pool of councillors to make up their contingent on scrutiny, and the weaker the scrutiny function becomes. Opposition groups tend to put their best councillors on scrutiny - where they can have the greatest influence on improving the outcomes of the decisions made by the ruling group.
Flamboyant - in a cabinet system of governance the scrutiny committee/s are made up of opposition and non-cabinet members of the administration. Their job is to examine decisions causing concern, contribute to and shape policy and hold the executive/cabinet to account. They have to be politically balanced - i.e. have the same ratio of councillors from each political group as the council as a whole. The smaller the administrative group, the smaller and less able the pool of councillors to make up their contingent on scrutiny, and the weaker the scrutiny function becomes. Opposition groups tend to put their best councillors on scrutiny - where they can have the greatest influence on improving the outcomes of the decisions made by the ruling group. Cllr Liz Harvey
  • Score: 0

11:09pm Fri 23 May 14

Cambo 1 says...

@ Liz Harvey can you tell me why the scrutiny committee didn't look @ the land swap deal between HC & HWFRS plz???
@ Liz Harvey can you tell me why the scrutiny committee didn't look @ the land swap deal between HC & HWFRS plz??? Cambo 1
  • Score: 3

11:41pm Fri 23 May 14

flamboyant says...

Cllr Harvey thanks for taking the time to respond to my question that was kind of you and I'm sorry but it makes what I'm about to say all the more difficult! However I'm compelled to say it anyway sorry in advance for any offense it may cause but I'm all about straight talking. What I need to know now is what on earth have you been doing? There have been some crazy ill informed decisions made and if I'm understanding your explanation of scrutiny how in God's name did they get passed you?

I am led to believe you and IOC thought it was a good idea to organise community groups to cut the grass? You are or so I have been told in favour of a digital Council where members contact the Council via digital sources? The Council I believe are working towards a model that will see members of the public which includes our elderly and disabled contacting the Council through local hubs set up in Libraires and Community Centres? Please tell me Scrutiny didn't rubber stamp the worst idea I've ever heard?
Cllr Harvey thanks for taking the time to respond to my question that was kind of you and I'm sorry but it makes what I'm about to say all the more difficult! However I'm compelled to say it anyway sorry in advance for any offense it may cause but I'm all about straight talking. What I need to know now is what on earth have you been doing? There have been some crazy ill informed decisions made and if I'm understanding your explanation of scrutiny how in God's name did they get passed you? I am led to believe you and IOC thought it was a good idea to organise community groups to cut the grass? You are or so I have been told in favour of a digital Council where members contact the Council via digital sources? The Council I believe are working towards a model that will see members of the public which includes our elderly and disabled contacting the Council through local hubs set up in Libraires and Community Centres? Please tell me Scrutiny didn't rubber stamp the worst idea I've ever heard? flamboyant
  • Score: 4

9:01am Sat 24 May 14

Hereford person says...

Scrutiny Committee.
They meet send recommendations to the cabinet who ignore what they want and note the rest. Now they have Tory vice chair voted on by most independents.
Scrutiny Committee. They meet send recommendations to the cabinet who ignore what they want and note the rest. Now they have Tory vice chair voted on by most independents. Hereford person
  • Score: 1

3:02pm Mon 26 May 14

saidflo says...

Sad to read this Liz and Alan.
It appears to look like a bit of sneaky back stabbing politics maybe.
Maybe due to running scared after IOC took the last by elections.

I have been to public council meetings to see what happens and I know what brilliant efforts were made within the constraints of council rules and regulations. Also the enormous amount of work put in behind the scenes, you personally were making on behalf of us less committed council tax payers and Herefordshire residents.
I'd like to thank you both for your work :)

Roll on a change - we could do with a few Nigel Farages leading the ordinary people toward a fairer society for all. (Negative connotations excluded of course).
Sad to read this Liz and Alan. It appears to look like a bit of sneaky back stabbing politics maybe. Maybe due to running scared after IOC took the last by elections. I have been to public council meetings to see what happens and I know what brilliant efforts were made within the constraints of council rules and regulations. Also the enormous amount of work put in behind the scenes, you personally were making on behalf of us less committed council tax payers and Herefordshire residents. I'd like to thank you both for your work :) Roll on a change - we could do with a few Nigel Farages leading the ordinary people toward a fairer society for all. (Negative connotations excluded of course). saidflo
  • Score: 0

11:35pm Tue 27 May 14

Cambo 1 says...

I have to say I'm disappointed cllr Liz Harvey that you have not responded to my question why wasn't the land swap deal between HC & HWFRS not brought before the scruntiny commitee??
Seeing as that one might be a little awkward in answering let's try another & let's see if you can respond this time? Why is the scruntiny commitee chaired by councillors to investigated other councillors who may have been involved in some wrong doing's?? Surely it would be better if it was chaired by a independent panel made of people from within that region of which councillors represent??
I have to say I'm disappointed cllr Liz Harvey that you have not responded to my question why wasn't the land swap deal between HC & HWFRS not brought before the scruntiny commitee?? Seeing as that one might be a little awkward in answering let's try another & let's see if you can respond this time? Why is the scruntiny commitee chaired by councillors to investigated other councillors who may have been involved in some wrong doing's?? Surely it would be better if it was chaired by a independent panel made of people from within that region of which councillors represent?? Cambo 1
  • Score: 5

11:14pm Wed 4 Jun 14

Cllr Liz Harvey says...

Sorry Cambo1 - been away. Scrutiny has specific rules in the council's constitution which determine the grounds upon which it can call in a decision - and I'm not aware that there was anything about the HWFRS land swap that qualified. Neither did we have questions brought to scrutiny by members of the public.

Scrutiny is populated by councillors - because that's what is required in the constitution. We do have members of the public who sit on the scrutiny committee representing particular areas of expertise in Education and IOC would like to see that approach extended to allow subject matter experts from other areas being co-opted to sit on the committee or on Task & Finish Group investigations.

Cllr Seldon and I were getting the scrutiny web pages updated to enable people to register their interest and area of expertise. I just hope this improvement is supported by the new councillors in charge.
Sorry Cambo1 - been away. Scrutiny has specific rules in the council's constitution which determine the grounds upon which it can call in a decision - and I'm not aware that there was anything about the HWFRS land swap that qualified. Neither did we have questions brought to scrutiny by members of the public. Scrutiny is populated by councillors - because that's what is required in the constitution. We do have members of the public who sit on the scrutiny committee representing particular areas of expertise in Education and IOC would like to see that approach extended to allow subject matter experts from other areas being co-opted to sit on the committee or on Task & Finish Group investigations. Cllr Seldon and I were getting the scrutiny web pages updated to enable people to register their interest and area of expertise. I just hope this improvement is supported by the new councillors in charge. Cllr Liz Harvey
  • Score: 0

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