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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

My Letter to Nick Clegg regarding Cllr.Opplers decision to sanction Mrs Warr's winter holiday expenses

Mail-onLine article regarding Mrs Warr's expences.
Link to Mail-on-line
I have written to Nick Clegg the deputy Prime Minister regarding Cllr Francis Opplers role as leader of the Lib Dem group on Arun District Council,  Cllr Oppler sanctioned Mrs Warr's conduct in claiming expenses whilst holidaying for the Winter months for at least the last seven years.

Cllr Oppler does not seem to think that Mrs Warr has done anything wrong, so I have sent the following letter to the Bognor Observor which I publish below.

I am hoping they will print it and I am hoping Cllr Oppler will make some sort of public statement regarding his role in this scandal.




                             

                          Cllr. Paul Dendle

Budds Corner 84 Burpham West Sussex BN18 9RH
Email: pauldendle@aol.com    www.pauldendle.org
         

The Editor
Bognor Observer
Place St.Maur
Belmont Street
Bognor Regis
PO21 1BJ

20th March 2014

Dear Editor

Re:  Expense Scandal

I felt again compelled to write after reading Cllr Francis Opplers recent statements regarding Councillor Mrs Warr’s expense claims whilst spending the winter in Florida.

Cllr Oppler states that Mrs Warr went away for health reasons, I’m sorry I can’t accept that, it’s not compulsory to claim your expenses and Mrs Warr has gone away for 4 months in winter for at least the last 7 years.  By claiming her expenses shows a systematic disregard for the public purse and tax payer.

Cllr Oppler sanctioned Mrs Warr’s expense claims which is shocking, but he does not seem to think that Mrs Warr has done anything wrong,  He tries to divert attention from his own lack of judgement and Mrs Warr’s claims by trying to smear Conservative Councillors who simply live in two places and spend their weekends away.

Mrs Warr’s claims were not illegal, but I believe they were indefensible, but also
I believe there are direct parallels to the MP’s expense scandal; many MP’s defended their claims stating that their claims were within the rules and legal, but as elected representatives we all have to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

Cllr Oppler needs to consider his position and accept that what has happened is wrong, until he makes a public statement to that affect, then no one will be able to take him seriously as Leader of the Lib Dems on Arun District or the Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate

Yours Faithfully

Cllr. Paul Dendle
Arundel Ward & Cabinet Member

For the Environment on Arun DC

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Local Government structure

2010 election results by political colours.
Before I was elected I knew very little of the structure of our local government and forgive me if I am wrong, but I believe most people don’t either.

In West Sussex we have a three tier structure with the Parish at the lowest level with the District at next level and West Sussex County Council at the top.  In the Arundel ward there are currently six parishes which are either a Parish meeting (Burpham, Warningcamp, South Stoke & Houghton), a Parish Council (Lyminster) or a Town Council (Arundel),  Parishes are Planning consultees and give their opinion to the planning authority (In Arun District that’s either Arun or the South Downs National Park), Parishes are responsible for community based buildings, like village halls or the Arundel Town Hall they also work with Arun and West Sussex County Council on delivering local based services.  The Parish is financed through your Council tax bill through the parish precept

Local Election Ballot Box.
At the next level is Arun District which covers many different services, they are the billing authority so collect Council tax on behalf of all the other authorities, e.g. West Sussex County Council (about 78%)   Arun District (About 11%) and then the Police Authority (about 9%) and the balance to the Parish.  Arun has many different service responsibilities which include, Planning, Housing (Arun has about 3500 council houses known as Social Housing), Affordable Housing, Street Cleansing, Weekly Refuse, Public Conveniences, Leisure Centres, Theatres, leisure Green spaces and parks, Civil Parking enforcement, Car Parks, Well Being agenda, Costal Flooding, Benefits (Council Tax and Housing benefit), Internal Drainage, Drinks Licensing, Taxi Licensing, Environmental Health, Pest Control, Regeneration, I could go on, but we also liaise and work closely with the Police and West Sussex County Council and we deliver all this just under £3. Per week for a Band D household.

At the top is West Sussex County Council which covers Schools & Education, Highways, Social care, Public Transport, Libraries, Children care and Adoption services, Youth Services,  Flooding  (River, Surface and ground source), Waste processing, local waste centres, delivery of government economic initiatives like Rural Broadband and business grants
Local government is much more efficient than Central government, but the obvious question is could local government be delivered more efficiently, Well I think it could, unitary authorities like Cornwall avoid duplication and can have a more coherent view, but whether unitary councils should be county wide is another question, some counties have super borough or city  councils like Havant, Portsmouth or Winchester, I believe there are opportunities to have a super District unitary that would stretch from Chichester to Shoreham that would cut the number of Councillors, save money and be more joined up.


Until next month, Paul Dendle is Arundel Ward & Cabinet Member on Arun District Council and can be contacted at his email Pauldendle@aol.com 

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Your Council
Arun District Councillors first meeting after election

Need a hotel

Option A Pink blue route for Arundel By-Pass

Option A Pink blue route for Arundel By-Pass