Cllr Goody Two Whips Goodridge better known as ‘Sleepy’ due to his propensity to take the odd nap during meetings, led the Tory cabal in lambasting the Rainbow Coalition’s bid to join forces (collaborate) with Guildford. Does the Tory Whip really want to lead his group towards promoting – BANKRUPTCY? Surely not?
A move by both authorities has been prompted by years of swingeing Government cuts. These, magnified by the dark days of COVID, combined with insufficient Government support, and threats of unitary authorities has forced Waverley like every council in the country to seek new ways of working. The perfect storm is now overhead.
This includes cash strapped Waverley & Guildford Borough Councils. Both of whom are eager to begin a collaboration to share a chief executive and senior management team. This would lead to predicted collective saving of around £1.4m in the first year and could be the pre-cursor to significant saving opportunities in the future.
Here’s a clip of why Council Leader Paul Follows and his Executive are promoting the move.
Hours of wrangling and filibustering by the Tories followed. Who had and who had not received the necessary paperwork. Accusations of foul play, making threats, confusion and misinformation. Mayor John Robini, who handled the meeting brilliantly, hung onto his chain at times, for support.
“I am hard of hearing” Elstead’s Aunty Elsey bleated saying she couldn’t read the paperwork or hear when it was repeated by the Leader Paul Follows around five times! She announced she wouldn’t support collaboration because the staff whom were treasured might be affected, adding she, “didn’t understand the recommendations anyway!”
One cannot help wondering what she was doing there?
There were some outrageous and damaging claims that staff and officers were already jumping ship at both Guildford and Waverley and morale was plummeting.
This despite calls from the Leader to “be aware that council staff may be watching!”
Farnham’s ‘Oh Carole,’ congratulated by the Mayor earlier for her recent gong, almost in a going, going, gong mood, administered in full school-arm mode dire warnings of the impending doom that the Executive proposals were promoting!
“This is going to be a very messy business. It is irresponsible, cruel and unnecessary. You are going to damage a lot of people if you go ahead with this,” she warned.
But it was new-boy Tory Leader Cllr Stephen Mulliner who drove the knife into the move. Claiming the disruption to staff morale, the distraction and the costs involved for such insignificant, unquantifiable and unrealisable savings would damage Waverley, and its residents many of whom are vulnerable. He and his colleagues wanted to “wait and see” what damage the pandemic has wreaked on the borough, and make savings elsewhere. Though only moments earlier the Tory Group voted against reducing councillor numbers from 57 to 50 – due to Boundary Commission requirements.
Did he, or any of his Tory colleagues offer an alternative to joining Guildford? NO!
The Tories were in no mood to either hear or listen to the argument for collaboration. Despite the recognition that doing nothing was not an option and the state of its finances must be addressed. One Tory said recently, that cuts in services must be an option. There are already moves afoot by officers saying “we have to get more bang for our bucks in future” from the community pot that services voluntary organisations! Organisations which include day centres.
Councillor John Grey said Waverley had been extremely successful in saving money in the past and could easily save £350K in another way.
Cranleigh’s ‘Mary, Mary, quite contrary’ Foryszewski said:
“Doing nothing is not an option, we all know the consequences of that.”Promptly accusing the Executive one minute of “not being brave enough and playing it safe.” then in the next, saying she wouldn’t vote for the recommendation!
We agree – they aren’t going far enough, and they never will while the Tories are in opposition!
The meeting ended with the webcast buffering, followed by the doors of the Farnham Hall being tightly closed to the press and public.
Heaven only knows what the atmosphere was like when councillors’ behaviour was not being observed! Perhaps one of those little endangered Farnham Dartford Warblers will warble to us?