Waltham Forest Labour off to bad start spending thousands to get rid of Chief Executive

Lib Dem Leader Bob Sullivan has responded to the need to find savings at Waltham Forest council and Labour councillors’ decision to get rid of the council’s Chief Executive. He said:

Gordon Brown’s economic legacy means that all levels of government have to make tough choices. Labour in Waltham Forest has got off to a bad start by seeking to get rid of the serving Chief Executive at enormous cost to the local taxpayer.

The Liberal Democrats will campaign to protect crucial services that affect people’s lives. We will support measures to improve efficiency and cut out waste, bureaucracy and unnecessary spending.

The council spends hundreds of thousands of pounds each year on marketing and communications and could save more if it employed fewer interim staff and consultants. It must make progress on the Arcade site and other projects where every delay costs local taxpayers money.

It is vital that the measures announced by the council are considered properly by councillors and I will ask for full details to be submitted to the relevant scrutiny committee.

Local sports area Drapers Field under threat

Drapers Field - all-weather pitch in the distanceLib Dem councillors have expressed alarm at news that Labour councillors are negotiating to turn popular sports facility Draper’s Field into a car park – just a few months after pledging to protect Waltham Forest’s green spaces and leisure facilities.The news has sparked anger among local Liberal Democrat campaigners, who say the all-weather pitch and playing fields are used by over 9,000 people every month.According to information received, Labour Council Leader Chris Robbins is actively negotiating to lease the playing fields to the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) for possible use as a VIP car park or other Olympic use. As a result local children and football clubs will have nowhere to play in Olympic year while international elite athletes race for medals just a few hundred yards away.

The all-weather pitchLeyton councillor and Liberal Democrat Group Leader Bob Sullivan said:“To allow Drapers Field to be given over to the ODA and turned into a car park or other Olympic facility, would be a travesty for local clubs and schools. The Olympics should be used to encourage sport, not destroy it. Under Labour the council is in danger of missing a huge opportunity to gain Olympic benefits “Drapers Field is situated at the southern end of Leyton High Road.  It  has the only Council owned all weather astroturf pitch in Leyton and Leytonstone. Local Norlington School uses it four days a week and if it was to be closed down then this would be a disaster for the school.

Labour Leader must come clean about Waltham Forest Chief Executive’s reported departure

Leyton councillor and Liberal Democrat Leader Councillor Bob Sullivan has responded to press reports claiming that Waltham Forest Council Chief Executive Andrew Kilburn has left his post.

He said:

Chief Executives are appointed to serve the whole council, not just the whims of the Leader. The council has clear procedures to deal with the appointment and departure of chief executives and so far it is not clear that these have been followed.

Nationally the coalition government is introducing a new era of openness and transparency about public sector spending..

Leyton residents will rightly be concerned about anything that smacks of a behind the scenes stitch-up to suit the convenience of senior Labour councillors, especially if it ends up costing the local taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds.

Recent research by the Audit Commission shows that the average cost to councils of severance agreements with Chief Executives is over a quarter of a million pounds (£256,104).

Bob Sullivan is demanding that councillors and the public are told what the true situation is and has put a series of questions to the council about how the matter is being handled. He believes it is unacceptable that the council’s Labour leadership is keeping councillors and residents in the dark.