Motion: Council have spent £450k of your taxes paying off staff, stop them paying off more…

Kingston Council is supposedly facing a ‘Bankruptcy Battle’, according to the Liberal Democrat administration’s latest borough-wide leaflet. This comes despite news that the Council intends on spending an estimated cumulative £462,000 on paying off senior staff that have clashed with the new Liberal Democrat leader, Liz Green.

In August, the Liberal Democrat administration removed Charlie Adan, the Chief Executive, at a cost of £312,000, and now intend on making the Deputy Chief Executive, Roy Thompson, redundant at a cost estimated by insiders to be around £150,000. On top of this, whilst Mr Thompson was off over the summer on sick leave, they spent £950 per day on an interim consultant.

The Kingston Independent Residents Group say enough is enough. Council funds should be spent on resident services, as paying senior staff off does not give value for money in our council tax.

As such, we demand an urgent review of ex gratia and other payoffs, and condemn the haphazard way in which the council has ignored its own advice in paying off these staff, which leave us with a greater risk of becoming ‘bankrupt’ as an authority.

Please sign our motion, which will be debated at Full Council when 500 signatures are reached, to demand better for your Council Tax.

Motion: Demand Better on Senior Staff Payoffs

  

Community Motion (Standing Order 7A)

Demand Better on Senior Staff Payoffs

This Council notes:

1. the Council, under the Liberal Democrat administration, removed the former Chief Executive Charlie Adan at a cost of £312,000, which could have been spent elsewhere;

2. the Council’s press release, on 29 June 2018, states ‘Roy Thompson will become interim Chief Executive… for up to 12 months… the Deputy Chief Executive position will remain vacant during this time’, which makes clear the post was not occupied by any individual;

3. the Council, owing to illness, brought in an ‘interim interim CEO’, at a cost of £950 per day, despite a commitment to reduce the number of consultants, yet only months earlier employing three highly skilled and senior directors perfectly capable of covering the post; and

4. the Liberal Democrat administration is now attempting to make a redundancy payment to Roy Thompson estimated in excess of £150,00 for his role as Deputy CEO, despite the Council having made it clear this post was vacant.

This Council believes:

1. Council funds should be spent on resident services as paying senior staff pay off does not give value for money;

2. residents deserve clarity and transparency, and it is the duty of the Council to ensure this; and

3. there is a lack of confidence from residents that the payoff for Roy Thompson is justified, since it was later reported by the Leader that the payment was not for redundancy but an ex-gratia payment for long service (12 years).

This Council resolves:

1. to set up a review of ex-gratia and other payoffs, with a focus on legality and the future cost of pensions.

2. to condemn the haphazard and perilous way in which the leadership of the Council has ignored its own advice since May 2018, employing consultants and spending hundreds of thousands paying off staff, furthermore adding to a potential bankruptcy; and

3. to report back to the Finance and Contracts committee with a report on how implementing a new procedure to ensure that any such payments are within the revised Constitution and that a constitutional procedure is introduced, so future payoffs are lawful and transparent.

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KIRG call for urgent review of town centre GO Cycle works

The Kingston Independent Residents Group have called for an urgent review of the GO Cycle works, which are continuing to cause major disruption in the town centre.

Not only are these works being undertaken without proper consultation with residents living in the area, but they are causing great disruption to shoppers, who are less likely to support our small businesses as a result.

Local campaigner, Bob Tyler, said: “I am very concerned about the latest works in the Town Centre and particularly the ‘shared space’ designs. What is happening is going to be yet another unproven, unsafe ‘shared space’. This and other new works must be consulted on”

GO Cycle

  

We, the undersigned, call for an urgent review of GO Cycle works on Wheatfield Way and around Kingston Station. These works are causing great disruption to residents in the vicinity, without proper consultation. Further, these works are damaging to shoppers, who are less likely to shop in Kingston as a result of long delays to get in to the town, which has a knock-on effect to small businesses, already struggling in the current economic climate.

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Waitrose reinstate 2 hours free parking following campaign

Your Kingston Independent Residents Group team in Beverley have secured the reinstatement of 2 hours free parking at the Waitrose Car Park in New Malden. This is a victory for New Malden residents and businesses in the High Street, and we would like to thank everyone for their support.

Local resident James Giles with the new signage in Waitrose, reintroducing a 2 hour maximum stay

Waitrose recently changed the maximum stay from 2 hours to 90 minutes, and increased the penalty from £25 to £95. The car park is subject to a number of legal agreements with the Council and Waitrose did not have permission to reduce the maximum stay.

Following our campaign and intervention in Beverley Ward, Waitrose have now reinstated a maximum stay of 2 hours. Further, users of the car park are no longer required to spend £10 in Waitrose, which could boost trade for independent businesses in the High Street.

The one remaining area of concern is the £95 penalty charge, which we are asking to be reduced back to £25, to give shoppers peace of mind when using the car park.

KIRG Group Leader and member of the Beverley Independent team, Mary Clark, said:

“These changes would have impacted on shoppers who use the car park for both Waitrose and our independent businesses on the High Street. They were introduced with no consultation with residents or even the council. I’m very pleased that Waitrose has made the right choice in reinstating the longstanding parking arrangements, which date back before 2003.”

Local resident James Giles said:

“This is fantastic news. We would like to thank Waitrose for their co-operation in the matter, and their commitment to the community in New Malden.”

 

Beverley residents call upon Waitrose to reintroduce 2 hours free parking

Your Kingston Independent Residents Group team in Beverley are campaigning to restore 2 hour free parking in the Waitrose Car Park in New Malden.

 Waitrose recently changed the maximum stay from 2 hours to 90 minutes, and increased the penalty from £25 to £95. The car park is subject to a number of legal agreements with the Council and Waitrose do not have permission to reduce the maximum stay.

Cllr Mary Clark, group leader and Beverley lead, said: “These changes will impact on shoppers who use the car park for both Waitrose and our independent businesses on the High Street. They were introduced with no consultation with residents or even the council.

Many, including the disabled, will be deterred from parking here at a risk of a new massive £95 penalty, should they overstay in any form. A large number of residents have been in touch to make us aware of these changes which will damage the local economy.”

Your Independent Residents Group in Beverley has written to the Council Enforcement about this matter.

If you support our campaign and want to see 2 hour free parking reinstated, sign below and add pressure to the Council and Waitrose:

Waitrose: Reinstate 2 hr free parking and £25 penalty charge

  

We, the undersigned, call upon the John Lewis Partnership to immediately reinstate 2 hours free parking at their branch in New Malden and the £25 parking charge.

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Extraordinary meeting of Health Scrutiny Panel called to scrutinise hospital decision on blue badge parking

With the support of hundreds of local residents, the Kingston Independent Residents Group has been putting heavy pressure on Kingston Hospital to reverse their damaging decision to introduce parking charges for blue badge holders at Kingston Hospital.

Led by Councillor Mary Clark, a cross-party letter has requisitioned an extraordinary meeting of the Health Scrutiny Panel, with representatives from the Hospital being called to the meeting, in order to scrutinise the decision and for residents to have their voice heard. The meeting will be at the Guildhall in Kingston, 7:30pm start, on Wednesday 21st February.

 

Mary Clark, the KIRG group leader stated: “These charges are a disgrace, and must be reversed. We will end up with gridlock on Galsworthy Road where blue badge holders will legally park on the double yellow lines, and a situation where those who desperately need to go into hospital may not for fear of cost.

I urge all residents to attend the extraordinary meeting of the Health Scrutiny Panel this Wednesday, at Guildhall, to make their voices heard to Kingston Hospital and join us in our call to reverse this decision. ”

A letter was sent to Kingston Council demanding an extraordinary meeting of the Health Scrutiny Panel, under Standing Order 24, and was signed by Councillors Mary Clark, David Fraser and Sheila Griffin in their capacity as members of the Health Scrutiny Panel.

The Kingston Independent Residents Group will be holding a demonstration on the steps of Guildhall from 7pm on Wednesday 21st February, before the meeting begins at 7:30pm.

Can you join us and make sure that the voice of vulnerable residents in Kingston are heard?