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Resignation of  Scarborough Borough Councillor, Nick Harvey.  

In many cases, pieces written in these pages adopt a light or irrelevant mode as a part of getting their messages across, and also to inject a bit of levity into some otherwise tedious stories.  However, because of their gravity or serious implications there are subjects that transcend this style.  The subject of Nick Harvey’s resignation as an elected member of Scarborough Council is one of these.

The report in the Wednesday January 11 and Saturday January 14 2012 Scarborough  Evening News makes interesting reading and raises some important questions.  In brief he has resigned because both he and letters he wrote highlighting resident's concerns are being ignored by the borough’s officers.  He claims he has been advised that he writes more of these letters than all the other borough Councillors combined.

 Having met him on two occasions, he was found to be an enthusiastic and engaging character, but, before writing this piece soundings were taken regarding Nick and his public duties.   This included taking a visit to Hunmanby where someone provided a closer examination of his work for the community.  From what I have been told, there can be no doubt that he has worked diligently for the public who, up until recently had a ‘hands on’ and dedicated Councillor representing them. 

 Being an Independent or representing a minority political party is not easy.  So, what went wrong?  As it is highly unlikely that the Scarborough Evening News would print lies, or grossly distorted facts, clearly there are issues that require answers.

 Did he not know the ‘right people?’  Was he not in the right ‘Club?’ or ‘Set’?  Was he squeezed out of Public Office?  and what of the borough’s officers? (And perhaps other Councillors)  What is their role in this?

 A delay of at least two months is cited in responding to his letters and queries, thus making his position as an elected member untenable. Further,  it is not the duty of unelected servants of the public to hinder, obstruct  or indirectly dictate how an elected member administers democracy on behalf of the Charge Payers. Indeed, if the public servants are unable to discharge their contracted duties, they must be replaced.  According to the report, it also appears that highly paid officers, (presumably on Recruitment and Retention Allowance and with all their benefits) lie at the heart of this fiasco.

 Were they incompetent, stupid, or have they a complete and arrogant disregard for the people who Nick Harvey represented?  From reading the reports, the impression gained is that there has been an attempt to usurp Democracy here and if so, this is a dangerous precedent.

 There is an old adage that says – Scarborough Borough Council employs officers, and North Yorkshire County Council employs Professional Officers.  Time for another 'thin out' at the borough perhaps?

 Longbones

© 2012                                                                                                                                                 

 The Free Whitby Movement

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