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A Suburb in Stockport

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BlueGrover posted..

It just gets better......

Resignation of Cllr McAuley from the Council Executive.

My Resignation from the Stockport Council Executive
Dear Resident

First of all apologies we have not heard from each other in a while. After the election I was asked to take a step back from emails so Cllr Sue Derbyshire could update residents with the work her, Daniel and I have been up to over the year.

A serious issue has come up at Council that has lead me to resign from Council Leader Sue Derbyshire's Executive.

A report on Stockport Market was drafted last Tuesday that, in my view, showed serious failings in the Councils regeneration strategy and consultation with residents. It also shows that Council Officers have not done as I'd asked having an open and transparent tendering process and reducing the deficit the market runs to £0 from £200K.

Cllr Sue Derbyshire is happy with the consulation and strategy as it is, but just wants the report pulled until after the election because it is potentially damaging. I am not happy that the assurances I gave residents have been rejected and despite attempts to remove me from my duties and use taxpayers money to pay me off until after the election I have resigned from the Council Executive as a result.

My relationship with Cllr Derbyshire has deteroirated over the last 12 monthes due to my objections to her Husband Neil Derbyshire running her campaign and making a request for members contact details. Many people will be aware of Neil Derbyshire's past conviction and that his involvement in politics is very difficult due to this past.

My objection was listened to by the party and I was then told he should have no role or position in the party but despite this he remains Sue Derbyshire's Campaign manager.

I accept that Mr Derbyshire having served his sentence must be allowed to continue his life as we all do and during his life threating illness I felt I was very supportive of the Derbyshires, but I have to draw the line when I believe residents personal data is at risk. I do not think people would take kindly to Mr Derbyshire having their contact details because of his past and so as I objected Cllr Derbyshire and my relationship deteriorated into my position on the executive eventually becoming untenable.

I continue to serve you as your local councillor and would like to do so as a Liberal Democrat Councillor, but given the seriousness of the issue and Councillor Derbyshires Power as Council Leader I do not know if this will continue to be the case.

Thank you for your time please find my resignation statement below.

My resignation statement:

After taking the weekend to consider my position I have decided to resign from the Councils Executive. On Tuesday of last week I received a report on the future of the Market from Council officers.

The report was completed before officers had seen or even received the results of the consultation on the Market.

Following reading this draft report being received it was clear that the assurances I had given residents about the purpose of the regeneration to wipe out the Markets deficit and that the tendering process being open and transparent would not be fulfilled.

I wished to make a statement to full council to correct the record and informed the Mayor via democratic services that I wished to make such a statement.

Cllr Sue Derbyshire raised a number of objections to me making this statement at full council going as far as to swear at me in a meeting of the executive in which the group secretary had to ask her to shut up due to the an argument unsung, Cllr Derbyshire refused until she was asked to leave the room.

I was never called by the Mayor.

The following day I was emailed by the groups political assistant Jason Good who had that morning made a personal visit to my house to post a letter indicating I was being relieved of my duties and if I allowed this to happen quietly I would keep any special responsibility allowance that I was entitled to as an executive member. In essence hush money.

Cllr Derbyshire's main objection was that the report would be damaging to her in the election given she had effectively taken over the Market Consultation because I objected to a 2M investment in a night club/music venue for the Market Place and I was unhappy with the approach officers were taking with regard the leading questions in the public consultation and the lack of genuine engagement with traders that was more than just managing a sticky problem.

I made a statement in full council in March that I was having back and forth with officers over the consultation and eventually Cllr Derbyshire overruled me and had the consultation sent for publication.

As I predicted a consultation was set up in opposition to the council consultation and even more bad blood was fermenting.

The report also indicated Cllr Derbyshire had chaired a meeting with traders to discuss options that she had previously made a public statement at central area committee that she was there not in an official role but in a listening capacity.

After speaking with officers she had not been invited and no one knew why she had turned up, but she ended up Charing the meeting as leader of the council.

I had been told by councillor Derbyshire and officers not to attend any meetings because it was an operational matter and it was inappropriate for me to be there, so I'm baffled as to why Councillor Derbyshire was there.

I was also baffled when she told our group following the report being circulated that she did not chair the meeting when it is clear she did.

The report officers have written shows that the strategy does not achieve one of the primary aims of the regeneration project, that of reducing the the deficit to 0 and in fact shows the regeneration itself doing nothing to reduce this deficit which is reduced by 1/2 by cutting one of the outdoor market days.

So in my view the council is risking public money with no evidence of any tangible economic growth to the area.

The report also shows that the food and drink strategy is tied up with a particular operator and that there will not be an open tendering process as I had instructed and as I pubically agreed to.

I am incredibly sad that I have been removed from my duties for standing up for residents and refusing to bury a report until after the election that shows serious failings in the Council to engage with traders and residents in a more transparent way.

I strongly believe Cllr Derbyshire should also consider her position as Leader of the Council because she has allowed my objections to the appropriateness of her campaign manager Neil Derbyshire having access to members details to cloud her judgement in relation to anything I say making my position in her executive untenable.

So I resign as executive member and will continue to fight this from the back benches.
Kind Regards

Cllr Patrick McAuley

Jason Good. Slippery character.