Have you noticed a tatty Tesco carrier bag containing boring paperwork just lying around? Have you perchance found a shoebox containing a shedload of handwritten dockets? Is there a consignment of chitties clogging your front gate? If so, you could be this weeks winner of the Walsall Council treasure trove lottery! If you happen to find yourself in possession of some dull but significant paperwork, then you, yes YOU, could win a top-notch prize from your careless, shiftless, shameless local authority! You could choose between not having your library closed even more of the time, less of a rise in meals on wheels prices, or even the retention of Walsall’s single remaining employee in the Social Services department. If you locate enough of the displaced documentary gold dust, they may even reconsider farming out the care of your granny to the lowest commercial bidder!
On the other hand, if you don’t locate the missing accountability, you’ll have to pay for the utter unprofessionalism of those you’ve elected to serve you… in car parking fees, reduced social care, eye-watering council tax increases, no council funded jollies for us proles… you get the picture.
Meanwhile, I suggest any interested competitor reads this article from last week’s Advertiser – if you can get past the screech of an axe being ground, there’s some salient points in there. Tim Oliver is referencing the fact that there’s still a bit of a malodorous tinge to the air following the council’s apparent vindication by the venerable boys in blue, in full accord with the authority’s position all along. The large payout was obviously an act of pure benevolence… largesse, even.
This is a council that pays it’s chief executive a huge amount of money. Following a series of freedom of information requests, the hateful Taxpayers Alliance published their Town Hall Rich List 2008 (a huge PDF, Adobe reader required) which indicated that the chief executive was, even then, on a salary of £174,500. For that kind of money, I’d expect a team to be engaged who can control elementary paperwork such as receipts without too much hassle. I bet they haven’t lost their receipts for personal expenses…
This looks like a cock up in the grand tradition of Walsall cock ups; the aborted Fujitsu deal, the 5.3 million underestimate for the ring road, the lighting contract that’s going to cost 6 million because of planning issues. Oh, and Mike Bird’s put aside his pussy for a while to explain that it’s a horrid world out there. Sorry, Mike, but we’ve been patronised by much worthier leaders than you.
It’s all going rather well, isn’t it?