This blog is about Hackney Council's famous incompetence. It contains far too much information about bureaucratic failure and corruption, but we hope that it will remind council officials that they are in fact accountable to us, Hackney's voters and taxpayers.
Hackney residents have long had to put up with a council that rides roughshod over them. This is our way of saying we care.
If you have any links or stories, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, 26 July 2008
From the Hackney Gazette:
AS council workers protested over pay last week, it has emerged that a town hall chief pocketed more than £310,000 last year.
Hackney Council's accounts for the last financial year show that the senior officer took home a massive pay-out, which could include redundancy payments, expenses and other allowances.
A council spokesman refused to identify the officer, saying: "The council is not able to disclose details of payments to individuals as these are confidential".
When pressed by the Gazette, he said: "I am not prepared to say anything more.
"You can spin it any way you like."
Penny Thompson, who was the council's chief executive for the first month of the year the numbers cover, received a salary of £164,839.
She suddenly announced her retirement in April after two-and-a-half years in the post
The accounts show that another officer received a payment of between £230,000 and £239,000.
Borough solicitor, Meic Sullivan Gould, quit his job the week before Ms Thompson stepped down and Hackney Homes chief executive, Steve Tucker, also retired during the period covered by the report.
It is believed that the council's current chief executive, Tim Shields, earns between £160,000 and £169,000 a year.
Matthew Waterfall, branch secretary of Unison, the trade union which represents council workers, said: "It is shocking to think that a single council officer should receive such a massive pay-out when our members, some of whom earn less than 12 grand a year, have been taking industrial action to secure a decent living pay rise.
"Taxpayers in this borough should be asking some serious questions of their council about how their money is being spent."
Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the public spending watchdog, the Taxpayers' Alliance, added that it was a staggering amount to give someone in one year, especially as many Hackney families are struggling to pay their council tax.
"Whether it's a basic salary, a bonus or a severance payment, it's utterly wrong to lavish so much money on one public servant.
"The council should name who it is, so taxpayers can assess whether they gave good value for money."
At the time of going to press the council had been unable to tell the Gazette what other perks council officers were receiving and explain why more than £10 million in council housing rent arrears was written off.
Tuesday, 29 April 2008
From the Hackney Gazette :
A woman is celebrating after the threat of eviction from her De Beauvoir home was lifted following a bungled court bid by Hackney Council which a judge described as "hopeless."
Eco-campaigner Michelle Goldberg, 55, who lives in Lawrence Court on the De Beauvoir Estate, breathed easier this week after the council decided not to lodge an appeal over the judgement made against it at Shoreditch County Court a fortnight ago.
The council had alleged she had breached an injunction they took out against her two years ago not to harass "anyone going about their lawful activity in the London borough of Hackney."
But it blundered by failing to specify how the injunction had been breached as well as re-applying for a possession order when they should have applied for a warrant to evict.
The injunction, prohibiting "abusive or threatening behaviour," was also found to be "defective" because of discrepancies between the original draft and an amended version.
The judge threw out the application describing it as hopeless and "incontestably bad" and ordered the council to pay all Ms Goldberg's legal costs.
"The council needs to get it own house in order before it victimises others," said an angry Ms Goldberg this week.
Friday, 18 April 2008
From the Telegraph:
A father has described his anger after he and his son were refused entry to their local swimming pool because they weren't Muslims.
David Toube and Harry, five, were turned away by staff from the men-only session.
The council admitted yesterday that workers at Clissold Leisure Centre in Hackney, north London, made a mistake and offered the family an apology.
Mr Toube, 39, a lawyer, said they visited the baths at 9am on Sunday.
“I arrived at the pool to discover that they were holding what staff described to me as 'Muslim men-only swimming’,” he said.
“I asked whether my son and I could go as we were both male.
“I was told that the session was for Muslims only and that we could not be admitted.”
Mr Toube then spoke to the duty manager, who confirmed he could not enter.
“I asked what would happen if I turned up and insisted I was Muslim.
“The manager suggested that they might ask the Muslims swimming if they minded my son and I swimming with them. If they didn’t object, we might be allowed in.”
Friday, 7 March 2008
From the Sun:
A DEFIANT market trader appeared in court yesterday for selling fruit and veg by the pound.
“Metric Martyr” Janet Devers is charged with failing to display prices in kilos and using incorrect measuring scales.
Her case was brought by Hackney Council in East London – despite a European Commission decision last year to end efforts to make Britain ditch imperial measures.
The 63-year-old was granted bail by Thames JPs yesterday and her case was sent to Snaresbrook Crown Court, where she will enter her plea next month.
Janet, of Wanstead, East London, said: “I was hoping that they would come to their senses and withdraw these charges.
“Unfortunately not. We are dealing with Hackney Council after all.”
Thursday, 7 February 2008
The council gets three stars out of four. LMAO. From Clives World Order:
Complete Control, 1984
..Or I'm A Libertarian, Get Me Out Of Here!
The dumb dumb local council apparatchiks of our stinking corner of London have become all-powerful and omnipresent. I guess at heart, all politicians and their lackeys have -- to a greater or lesser degree -- God complexes. But this unbearable.
Hackney (sodding) Council has now officially assumed control over every aspect of my life.
I'm woken each morning by its clumsy street cleaners, who while noisy, fail to actually remove any litter.
My street and all those around it a constantly filthy because recycling and refuse collection isn't properly coordinated. Pick-up on our road is Thursday, immediately south and to the right, on Mondays, opposite us on Wednesdays and to the North, on Fridays. Ipso facto, the whole neighbourhood is in a perpetual state of accumulative rubbish. Indeed, many of the flat dwellers simply don't have room for all the recycling paraphernalia, so their stuff constantly lives on the pavement. And what of my neighbour's penchant for discarding TVs, computers, fridges, furniture, carpet and the like by just leaving it on the street..?
Friday, 1 February 2008
Yet more incompetence, this time reported in the Gazette. Give them all OBE's:
PLANS for a new school and affordable housing for the Jewish community in Stoke Newington have been put on hold after council officers failed to produce the correct paperwork at a planning meeting last Wednesday.
The planning application was withdrawn after bungling officials failed to explain why they had not carried out an environmental impact assessment on the development on Lordship Road.