Councillor’s parting shot regarding ‘exclusive decision making process’

Breaking news from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk, on Twitter @standardboston
Breaking news from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk, on Twitter @standardboston

A Boston councillor has delivered a damning parting shot while resigning from a position of authority on the council following a meeting last night.

Independent borough councillor Richard Leggott stepped down from the post of chair of Boston Borough Council Audit and Governance Committee, following discussions on how the authority is led.

A meeting of the Corporate and Community Committee last night discussed the options of moving from a cabinet led system with scrutiny panels to a committee-based leadership.

However, the suggestion that the scrutiny committees were not working under the current system were shot down when members of the ruling group voted to keep things as they are.

Coun Leggott wrote to the authority and the Standard this morning to announce he would be standing down from 5pm.

He said: “Having worked with several members of the present administration in opposition for four years, 2007-2011, I was hopeful that their expressions of dissatisfaction re the exclusive decision making process employed by the past (BBI) administration were sincere.

“It now appears that, after two years in power, the idea of changing the process from a single party, exclusive group process, and returning it to all elected councillors is to be forgotten.”

At the meeting last night he explained how he had served both cabinet and committee styles and remembered the ‘fuss we made about getting scrutiny right’.

“We’ll I’m afraid we never got scrutiny right,” he said.

“It really has not worked yet. From both sides of the fence I can tell you it’s a waste of time because the decision has to go back to the decision maker in the end.”

The criticisms were defended by Chief Executive Richard Harbord who said he was surprised by them and explained why he felt committee systems did not work.

Council leader Peter Bedford also countered a number of criticisms levelled at the leadership by saying cabinet did take on board comments from scrutiny committees, even if they weren’t discussed at cabinet meetings.

A proposal by Coun Carol Taylor to discuss the issue further was cancelled out by an amendment by Coun Mary Wright not to adopt the new system, which was passed.

Read Coun Leggott’s resignation letter in full below:

To whom it may concern.

This is to inform you all that I am resigning the position of Chair of Boston Borough Council Audit and Governance Committee.

Having worked with several members of the present administration in opposition for four years, 2007-2011, I was hopeful that their expressions of dissatisfaction re the exclusive decision making process employed by the past (BBI) administration were sincere.

It now appears that, after two years in power, the idea of changing the process from a single party, exclusive group process, and returning it to all elected councillors is to be forgotten.

I feel that to continue taking a position as Chairman under this administration, now they have declared their ongoing position on this issue, could be seen as a financially advantageous, tacit approval of the situation.

I wish to remove any such possibility.

Therefore please accept my resignation as Chairman of BBC Audit and Governance as from 5pm this evening, Friday 18th January 2013.

I shall of course continue to perform all my duties as an elected councillor for Swineshead with Holland Fen ward and the present elected spokesperson of the Independent Group on Boston Borough Council.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Leggott