Thursday 31 March 2011

Apology Demonstrates How Propaganda And Smear Has Seeped Into H&F Council's DNA

I recall feeling sorry for Joe Carlebach, the Conservative Cabinet Member for Community Care. He was only elected for the first time in May last year but by June the 30th he was fronting up the closure of the only carers' centre in our Borough at a packed Full Council Meeting. There he stood, as if enduring some macho initiation test devised by his colleagues, uncomfortably justifying the highly controversial measure which all of us knew was planned, developed and unofficially agreed by the Conservative leadership before he was even a councillor.

In such circumstances the good advice of officials and colleagues is crucial. But that appears to have gone badly wrong. Two days ago I was sent the attached letter. It is signed by both Cllr. Carleback and Mr. James Reilly - the former Director of Community Care. In it they both "apologise unreservedly" to two local people for the content of another letter they had sent out on the 28th June last year. This most recent letter states "We now fully accept that XXX and XXX (I have removed the names to save them from further embarrassment) had no personal or personal financial interest in the bid and that they did not compromise their professional roles" begging the question what led Cllr. Carlebach and Mr. Reilly to believe it was right and proper to have even implied otherwise?

There needs to be a full explanation of what happened. Senior councillors and officials have allowed propaganda and smear to become part of the DNA of how H&F Council operates. Over the last five years it has regularly used tax payers' money to spread untruths and misinformation. This is one of the worst examples yet nobody will be sacked and nobody will resign. The public expect better than this. It has to stop.

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