Monday, April 08, 2013

A Shock Resignation

A shock announcement from the committee at the monthly meeting of the Westgate and Westbrook Residents' Association this evening, when seven of its members resigned. With the press not in attendance this evening, I decided that a public record would be useful for residents who were not able to attend and who might wish to see the supporting documentation online rather than in type, later in the month.

The following statement was read out by the minutes secretary, Chris Whittingham to a stunned audience:

"For a considerable time, Cllr King has repeatedly failed to act in accordance with the WWRA Constitution requiring him to consult with the elected Committee before making decisions or committing WWRA funds
.
The WWRA is not Cllr King’s personal organisation or the headquarters of the Independent Party. As an elected Committee we are no longer prepared to tolerate Cllr King’s refusal to engage with us if we disagree with him.

Our duty is to serve the best interests of the Membership, not the Chairman. We have offered to mediate with Cllr King in a bid to settle the differences listed in our Statement for the good of the WWRA. However, Cllr King will not speak to us.

As a consequence of Cllr King’s refusal to negotiate, we are left with no other choice than to reluctantly resign from the WWRA."

Cllr Tom King
The committee also referred to a collective statement of concern, made on 11th March in regard to its complaint to Cllr King (involving allegations made by TDC Cabinet Member, Cllr Iris Johnston at a previous meeting - see video):

Cllr King, the Chair of the WWRA, now running as an Independent candidate in the KCC elections next month, made very little comment other than remarking that he "Held his committee's resignation in the contempt it deserves" and would be seeking new committee members to replace them in time for next month's AGM. A list of vacant positions can be found at the Bakehouse in Westgate for anyone wishing to apply.

I had been planning to write a few words about the death of Baroness Thatcher, a much bigger shock today but I'm sure local people would prefer I share the details of this evening's surprise announcement instead.

51 comments:

Derek Smith said...

Interesting post. As someone who was at the meeting I think it more realistic to say we weren't really stunned at the news.
Perhaps you should also declare an interest as your wife was one of those that resigned.
Is it normal in meetings for you to sit and tweet brief allegations about another member of the committee as you did this evening.
Finally, I think you should take heed of the last paragraph above about story manipulation next time you post something like this.

Simon Moores said...

Derek. You may not have been stunned but sitting at the front, I certainly observed a number of "stunned faces."

Clearly, a matter of interpretation but you will notice that I have passed no comment other than report what happened. I'm not a member of the committee by the way and "tweeting" is now an approved method of reporting democracy in all its many forms.

If I have been in any way innaccurate or appear biased in this account of what happened, please point out where and I would be happy to take immediate steps to make a correction

Anonymous said...

Derek writes what Stephanie tells him to write.
How sad.

Derek Smith said...

Obviously anonymous does not know me. I make my own mind up and don't need anyone lse to do it for me.Such a shame that it had to be an anonymous comment - at least have the nerve to put your name if you are going to make insulting remarks.
With regards your tweets if you read them they appear accusational especially about financial misdealings (no proof of this was offered by the resignees and Tom denied it - funny that bit didn't make your tweet). I would also remind you that a Councillor making the sort of accusational tweets about another Councillor is against TDC policy. (See result of Cohen v Moores).

Simon Moores said...

Once again Derek.. what you have here is a report of what occurred. Tweets only allow for 140 characters and whether Tom denied the allegation of financial mismanagement or not is, I believe quite irrelevant. I have steered away from any personal comment and simply reported what happened, with the supporting letters, for the benefit of those who were not unable to attend.

If any part of this is incorrect or records anything which did not happen or was not said, then please draw it to my attention for correction, otherwise this conversation is quite pointless.

Anonymous said...

The resigning Committee will be more than happy to show you the evidence prompting their concern
Cllr King had it explained to him but he chose to ignore it although I doubt the people paying their subscriptions would.
You know our emails and phone numbers so get in touch or we can do it here and publicly.

Anonymous said...

Well its all happening this week, these resignations, now the Youth Police Commissioner resigning, that's probably for the best, Maggie Thatcher popping her clogs and Rolf Harris getting arrested. The sky is falling around our ears!

Karen Kennedy said...

Well, Derek Smith, I am stunned ! I have always had misgivings about a Chairman remaining in office for as long as Mr. King has. He might be very good at being a Chairman, I don't know, but it can't be healthy, or democratic for the Chairmanship to remain in one sole persons hands for so long. Seems to me that he should now resign for the good of the residents association and let someone else have a go at it ! Yes, I am a member, and no, I am not hiding behind anonymity.

Anonymous said...

Just how long has he been Chairman ?
Isn't there a time limit as with a Parish Council ?

Derek Smith said...

There is no time limit. If it is the wish of the members a chairman can be re-elected any number of times. Thishappens with many organisations where the incumbent resigns on rotation but stands for re-election. If you were 'stunned' Karen why did you not raise your concern last night or at the previous meeting? By the way, thanks for not hiding behind anon - shows commitment unlike the others who comment from behind the bushes.

A Moores said...

Hello Derek
If you want to know what the concerns of the Committee are you are more than welcome to call me at home and I will explain.
I can also forward you copies of the emails sent requesting information that to this day has not been forthcoming.
Or you can stick with one version of the story and speculate without facts.
My number is in the Record.
Best wishes
Allison Moores

Anonymous said...

Collins Dictionary British English: "stun: If you are stunned by something, you are extremely shocked or surprised by it and are therefore unable to speak or do anything"

Derek Smith said...

Alison, my complaint is the biased and sensational ised way this has been reported. I believe that if there is wrong doing it will eventually come out, but from the reaction from those I have got to know, and it is quite a few of the regulars, there is a lot of support for the status quo, and a lot of respect for the chairman. I was at the meeting when all this kicked off and must say that in all my years of committees etc. I was amazed at the inept handling by the vice chair. The rather theatrical follow up could only end in schism, which is where we find ourself today. Regards Derek Smith

Anonymous said...

Why does Iris think she needs to be appreciated?
She gets paid for her work
Also I'd like to know what she finds so offensive in the WWRA reply to her rambling email. I thought it was very polite and clear.

A Moores said...

Hi Derek

You haven't called me so I presume you aren't interested in any information or views other than that of the group you associate with which is your prerogative.

Best wishes
Allison

.

Tony Sykes said...

I attended this meeting and was one who was stunned. As I missed the previous meeting I was confused and dismayed by what appeared to be happening to our association. It is a great pity that this conflict cannot be sorted out in the interest of the association. Its also a great shame that enthusiastic hard working committee members conflicted with each other instead of fighting the real causes. Let us hope that when the dust settles we can get back to the basics and keep politics and personal pride out of our association. I am not pointing a finger or blame but I heard a comment that it was six to one half a dozen the other.

Anonymous said...

Surely there must be provision in the constitution for the Committee members, instead of resigning en masse, to vote for an extraordinary general meeting in order to propose a vote of no confidence in the Chairman?

If not, then someone ought to look at the constitution very closely!

Anonymous said...

The committee members who resigned did try to arrange a mediation but the Chairman made it very clear he didn't want to talk. Then he demanded resignations. They also tried for months to resolve the situation so it wasn't a quick decision or anything to do with pride or politics. They wanted the Chairman to abide by the constitution.
You can't call a EGM because you can't contact all the members. No accurate membership list.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand resignation from the WWRA?

Derek Smith said...

With regards mediation it was suggested at the March meeting but the general feeling of the meeting seemed to be that mediation would be impossible with five against one. The suggested mediation was proposed and seconded but the meeting in general thought it pointless so no vote was taken.
The sensible course of action would have been to wait until the AGM and for someone from the group of 5 to have stood as chairman. Had the membership been in support they would have been elected. As it is, the five (now seven) who have seen fit to resign obviously have no loyalty to the members who elected them so are no better in that respect than the observations they made about the chairman. However, as ordinary members of the WWRA they are still free to stand for any of the posts advertised in the Bakehouse.

Anonymous said...

Ah - I thought they had resigned from the WWRA. So the resignation is from the Committee, not from the WWRA?

Anonymous said...

OK, gradually building own minutes of March meeting!

Former committee said...

About the mediation Derek.
Tom King demanded the committee resign
We can email you copies if you're interested.
If you and your wife had been in the WWRA for more than 6 months you would be aware of all the work done by the same committee you are so quick to label as lacking in loyalty to the people who voted for them.
We are in this situation because we have been deeply disturbed by the Chair's failure to abide by the constitution and the fact that he didn't think there was a problem with a committee member taking it upon themselves to write off significant amounts of members money without informing, consulting or getting permission from the committee.

Anonymous said...

Derek Smith, you seem to have both Mr and Mrs Moores on smearing duties. I would pull back before you find that you become a target!

Anonymous said...

Funny how the truth is called a smear when it makes liars look bad!

Anonymous said...

They're not smearing anyone and at least they have the courage to sign their comments unlike you.

Derek Smith said...

As all I have said is what I believe I find it difficult to see why I should become a target. By the way why did you not allow my post last night - I thought it was jolly good. Would you believe that one of the resigned members came into the bakehouse today and asked Tom to model clothes at her fashion show. When he declined my wife was asked if she thought I would do it - probably not was her reply! Bit of a cheek or an attempt at reconcilliation? - leave it up to you to decide (if this gets printed).

Simon Moores said...

I don't have any outstanding posts from last night and nothing outstanding in the spam folder either unless you are offering residents male hormone tablets?

Anonymous said...

Are you now banning people from the Bakehouse if they don't agree with your point of view?

Simon Moores said...

Sorry Bing Crosby I cant use your last comment as it breaks my acceptable use policy. Try rephrasing it if you like

Anonymous said...

I think we should make Derek Smith the Chairman because everyone likes him and Tom has done a good job but he's gone on too long now and Derek knows how to make things happen and run things like in business. And he is on the internet but Tom isn't writing anything. That's not good for the w+wra needs someone with energy and skills and knows how to talk to people and help them and make the w+wrw better for everyone so theres no arguing.

Derek Smith said...

No one is banning anyone from anywhere -but it is a bit cheeky to resign and then ask the person you resigned because of to model in your fashion show. Good day at the bakehouse today apparently without cake and rock cakes on sale raising funds for wwra.

Anonymous said...

You see what I mean - Derek is telling everyone about what the w-wra is doing and not getting angry and he has a nice wife Chris who runs the tea mornings and does all the organising and work in the bake house - He should stand for Chairman

Anonymous said...

He would definately be better than Tom King who should let a new man in after 12 years. So I would vote for Derek.

Derek Smith said...

Its very kind of you to think this way but I think Tom is doing a good job and has a lot of grass roots support. His involvement with TDC is a bonus as it keeps wwra really up to date with what is going on at the town hall without party politics interfering - which is to my mind very important.I am afraid that with work and other commitments I couldn't give the time for such an important role, and my thoughts on local politics are unprintable here. My wife is very pleased to be part of the team that do such sterling work in the Bakehouse - but she would be the first to agree that she is only one part of a well established, hard working team.

Anonymous said...

Derek you should do it . I've just seen the Gazette and it says Tom King hasn't even got a computer so that's why he's not saying anything here and doesn't answer emails for days. It also says he wants to be elected for the county council. How can he do that if he can't manage what he's doing now and he made most of the committee resign. Your not a politician so nobody could say the w+wra is political and paying for leaflets for just one party .

Anonymous said...

TK's home page on TDC's website says since July 2007 "I am at present chairman of Westgate and Westbrook residents association".
It kind of implies it is not for ever. "I am an active member of WWRA" would read just as well, and I'd hope be just as true, if he were not chairman. It is always the same with a mr.dependable. They end up looking after everything, holding haphazard voluntary efforts together over the years when necessary, and the transfer gets increasingly difficult.

Bing Crosby said...

If Tom is doing such a good job, why isn't he commenting on here explaining his side of the problems in the wwra to the members? It looks to me like you're already doing his job.

Anonymous said...

Or they start thinking they can do everything their way without consulting anyone which seems to be what has happened now. I've read all the letters on this problem and I don't know why TK wants another committee when he didn't take any notice of the last one that seemed pretty active. And I've heard he can't even be chairman if he has resigned from the committee and the wwra can't run without a committee, so what's going on?
It looks like membership dues are being collected for something that might not exist and who is looking after that money if there isn't a committee or according to a comment here, an accurate list of members? There are too many unanswered questions for my liking

Anonymous said...

If there is no accurate membership lists, who is collecting the subs ? Where is my money going and what is it being spent on ? Too many questions ! I am not renewing my membership fees and I suggest that nobody else does until Tom King, as the Chairman and the person with ultimate responsibility, answers some questions to the members. Why doesn't someone bring in the police if there is the slightest whiff of misappropriation of funds ? If Mr. King can't answer the committee members concerns, maybe he will answer under caution at the police station.

Anonymous said...

Surely the issues within the WWRA are best sorted there, rather than on this blog, or is someone suggesting that free speech is being denied?

If there is disaffection with the Chair, as some are suggesting, why hasn't he been voted out? Or is someone suggesting he is controlling the membership in some way?

In resigning, why have the Committee reached the conclusion that it is better to leave and complain externally, rather than stay within and fight?

The owner of this blog has decided this is a matter of wider public interest, and is allowing the tennis match to continue, yet takes a very different line when people question what lies behind some of the shenanigans in his political party? Why?

Anonymous said...

Have you read the committee's statement? You'd see none of them wanted Tom out or wanted to be the chairman they just wanted him to abide by the Constitution and work with them. They tried to get that to happen for over 18 months and have you noticed that on the WWRA site there is no mention of any problems. So where else can you discuss this without getting heckled like the committee did when they read out their list of grievances? So why would they stay in that kind of hostile environment. I don't know anyone who would do voluntary work where they're treated with such contempt.Do you?
So much for democracy.

Anonymous said...

A committee only has have three members and the wwra has.
Statements coming soon

Bing Crosby said...

anonymous 6 09 If you know this and you're going to make a statement why are you anonymous?

Anonymous said...

As you have posted emails from various people on your blog I am sure you will have taken the precaution of gaining their permission before posting them? After all there is copyright law to consider.

Simon Moores said...

Which published work bearing copyright were you referring too I wonder?

Anonymous said...

The authors of the emails hold the copyright as it is their work (their writing) and therefore they have to grant permission for someone else to publish it, be that in print, or on a blog, or wherever.
If you recall this is the reason "love-rat" James Hewitt could not sell his letters from Princess Diana to the media. He was the owner of the letters - they had been sent to him - but not the copyright.
I am, of course, referring to your publication of emails "The Hibbert Files" on this blog. I know there have been changes to media law of late, but I am unaware of any major changes to British copyright law.

Simon Moores said...

Two words "Silly person" and "Go away" immediately spring to mind!

Anonymous said...

9,15 that was very remiss of the Ministry of Justice not to have informed you personally of their changes to the legislation. If I were you I'd send them a very strongly worded note.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, resorting to insults. How typical. Not an approach likely to win you, or your party votes. I voted for you last time round. Not again Mr. Moores. Never again.

Simon Moores said...

It is a democracy. Be careful what you wish for!