Friday, 3 February 2012

Tories waste thousands on Parish By - Election - Letter to the Huddersfield Examiner 2/2/12

Tories 'burning' Parish Council monies on by elections
Mike Greetham of Highburton questions why Kirkburton Parish Council finances are being wasted on 3 Parish By Elections in February this year (Examiner 28th January) . The answer to his question is because the Conservatives have specifically called for these By-Elections to take place rather than let the Parish Council fill the vacancies by co-option at nil cost. They have called the By-elections for 2 seats in Kirkburton and one in Shepley. In Kirkburton there are 2 Parish seats available but despite calling this costly By Election they have only been able to find one Candidate. The Candidate the Conservatives have chosen is ‘coincidentally’ Adrian Murphy a Kirklees Councillor who is up for re-election in May. Over the past years he has never shown any particular interest in the Parish Council and was always a poor attendee of meetings when he was on the Parish Council. You are forced to think that this is not a genuine desire to be a Parish Councillor working on local projects but probably a cynical political ploy with one eye on the Kirklees Elections in May.

John Taylor is standing as the Conservative Party Candidate in the Shepley Ward and has put a degree of spin in a letter in the Shepley Village Magazine that would shame Peter Mandelson. He refers to ‘stepping down as a Parish Councillor’ last year and his ‘retirement’ from the role. Actually he never ‘stepped down’ he lost his seat because he didn’t attend for a period of over 6 months and as such under Parish Council rules was removed from office. He had been a very poor attendee of meetings attending only 11 meetings out of a possible 48 in his last 2 years of office. To avoid a By-Election following John Taylor’s vacancy, in 2010, the Green Party supported the co-option of Cllr Adrian Murphy to the Parish Council for Shepley. Ironically he was also a very poor attendee of Parish Council meetings only turning up to 12 meetings out of a possible 35 in his 2 years of office. John Taylor said he wanted to avoid ‘the costs of a By-Election by being co-opted onto the Council’. Effectively he was saying to us that we had to co-opt him, despite his unreliability and equally poor attendance record, or the Conservatives would call a By-Election which in the end was what they did. This along with Kirkburton By-Election takes £8000 out of the Parish Councils £122,000 budget and out of funds that we could use to benefit the communities we represent. The real irony of this is that the other Conservative Parish Councillor for Shepley who was elected last May has attended 5 out of a possible 25 meetings this year.

It would be a shame indeed if the Conservatives were rewarded for playing politics with local peoples money and for seeking to mislead people over their role in calling these By Elections. What would you have spent £8000 on in your village?

Councillor Andrew Cooper

Kirkburton Parish Councillor for the Farnley Tyas and Thurstonland Ward

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