Ah! Anglesey! An island of beauty, beset by a bunch of councillors who enjoy nothing more than to dance the political Hokie Kokie.
“ You put your left leg in , your left leg out , in out, in out shake it all about, you do the hokie kokie and you turn around that’s what its all about “
Well the dance has come to an end.
Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant has done the political equivalent of ripping the record off the record player and turning the electricity off at the mains as well.
Today in a statement to the Assembly the Minister told Assembly members that following the Auditor General’s re inspection report today he had to take swift and decisive action.
That action was to send in the troops, well to be exact Commissioners, to run the council.
It’s a first and an extraordinarily big step to take. Not quite comparable to sending the armed forces into Iraq without an exit strategy but certainly does beg the question when will these Commissioners leave?
And what will the councillors are doing in the meantime. I mean they could get used to it, being paid while someone else takes on the responsibility
This much we know, all council cabinet functions have been removed.
What has the council done wrong that brought it to this very serious step?
Years of political in fighting has led to a constant state of political flux
A recovery board was set up to oversee the council in 2009 after a previous inspection had found it had a long history of instability
And more recently in fighting saw a split in its biggest political group as well as an attempt to overthrow the council’s leader
All extraordinary political shenanigans and no doubt very trying to the voters in Anglesey! And yet, And yet, in my interview with Carl Sergeant this afternoon, he admitted to me that services had not been affected despite all the problems!
The Commissioners appointed with immediate effect are
Alex Aldridge…Former leader of Flintshire County Council and the Welsh Local Government Association
Byron Davies Former Chief Executive of Cardiff County Council
And Mick Giannasi, Chief Constable of Gwent Police who will take up the post , once he’s retired from the force at the end of the month
The Minister plans to appoint two further commissioners as soon as possible.
As part of their punishment, the councillors will find their pocket money reduced when an Independent Remuneration panel will set new levels of allowances for them which reflects their diminished responsibilities
And with a sigh that indicated the Minister was feeling the hurt more than they were,
Carl Sargeant said
“I am taking action today with a profound sense of sadness. I prefer to trust local authorities and their members to discharge their public responsibilities effectively. But I know that where they do not, I have no alternative but to act “
In other words “Go to your room “