Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why it is best that I resign as an East Riding of Yorkshire Councillor

Many will have heard that I've announced my resignation as an East Riding of Yorkshire Councillor representing the people of Howdenshire - I'm very sorry to the many who've offered me support over the past few weeks, especially Howdenshire residents - but to continue to represent you as your Councillor has become impossible - due to the barriers that would be put up by the ruling ‘political elite’ at County Hall.
It is with a degree of sadness that after talking to my family, friends and many Howdenshire residents I have taken the decision to resign, and concentrate all my efforts on my new role as Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for Humberside.
Many will be aware that the Labour Group at County Hall brought forward a motion at Wednesday’s full Council meeting saying the role of Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner was incompatible with holding office as a Councillor  - this, even though the legal advice and messages from the government were clearly saying the opposite.
Rather than dealing with the motion, what I witnessed on Wednesday was an orchestrated attack on me by the ruling ‘political elite’ at County Hall.  The debate from the Conservative side was led by the Council Leader, Deputy Leader and senior Councillors, much was based on perception, very little was fact based, and a great deal was very personal and little to do with the question posed in the motion.
It made me realise that if I stayed on, whilst without any payment, barriers would be constantly put up which would have damaged the interests of Howdenshire residents.  I therefore thought about it again after the meeting and decided the next morning that, in the circumstances, it would be best to resign, it was time to make the break and I wanted everything over and done with.
The barriers to performing my role as an East Riding of Yorkshire Councillor would have been political, rather than anything involving the officers and the way the council functions from an administrative point of view.
The Leader of the Council being reported as saying he was ‘delighted at my decision to step down’ probably speaks volumes.
I have unfinished Council business which dictates that I won’t be able to stand down immediately, but probably in March.  This includes the conclusion of work on the Gilberdyke/Newport Tip, the final phase on the flood alleviation programme in Gilberdyke, the proposed path between Gilberdyke and Howden, a couple of wind farm applications, and unfinished casework for individual residents.
This remaining work is very typical of what I’ve done over the past 6 years, almost all is detailed here on my blog – ironically, I would NOT have been prevented from doing almost all of this if I continued as a Councillor as there would have been no so called ‘conflicts of interest’ or incompatibility between the roles of Councillor and Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner.
It has been an absolute privilege to serve the residents of Howdenshire over the past six years – I may not be your Councillor in the future but I will always be your voice.


Anonymous said...

Whilst fully understanding your decision I can only say the electors of Howdenshire are the victims of the irrational campaign by the "old guard" of ERYC councillors. Hopefully their behaviour will be noted and acted upon when reselection time comes round again.

Kev Owen said...

Well Paul, Firstly may I congratulate you on your new post as Deputy PCC, I'm sure you'll discharge your duties in that role in much the same professional way as you did whilst you were a Local Councillor.
Secondly I think it was right you resigned from the council as I do honestly think your new job and that of Councillor would raise conflicts of interest. Perhaps they aren’t apparent at the moment but in time they will be I’m sure.
I think when you take time to digest it all and get ‘your feet under the table’ as it were, you will probably come to realise that Party politics and the Police service cannot be intermixed no matter how well intentioned you are. I do hope both yourself and Mr Grove don't attempt to politicise the role.
Where our Police service leads others can only hope to compete, let us not be guilty of tarnishing its history or ethics for the sake of scoring political 'brownie points'. The emergency services are not businesses and they cannot be run as businesses. They are Services set up to serve the people not political agendas. Whilst it is important in these cash strapped times that spending needs to be kept in check, priority should be given to allowing them to do their job without political shackles.
We have seen what problems arise when the Government of the day 'reformed' the Health service and set up Care Trusts. Vital funds are now being spent on high powered wages instead of treatment. Let us not go down that same road with the PCC.
Anyway once again, Congratulations and best wishes for the future let’s see you make a positive difference and do what is right (which won’t always tally with Governmental wishes) for the Police service and those it is sworn to protect and serve.

John in Gilberdyke said...

It is most important that you remain as ward councillor until the matter of the tip is brought to a satisfactory conclusion. Therefore March may be far too soon. Disregard the siren voices and stay until this job is done.
Whatever the eventual outcome of ERYC or EA deliberations the Ombudsman will have something to say about the sadly lacking performance from both bodies.