Report back on the Council AGM

 

On Wednesday Greenwich Council met for a full 13 minutes to hold its Annual General Meeting which formally appoints the leader, cabinet members and committees of the new Council.  The meeting is mainly a formality and with such a large Labour majority there was never going to be much debate about Chris Roberts staying on as Leader of the Council for the next four years (a change the previous Labour government made which means that he will not be challenged in Council for the whole term).  For the Conservatives, the leadership positions were allocated as follows:

 

Leader of the Opposition:                     Cllr Spencer Drury (Eltham North)

 

Deputy Leader of the Opposition:         Cllr Nigel Fletcher (Eltham North)

 

Opposition Whip:                                 Cllr Eileen Glover (Eltham South)

 

The Council unanimously elected Cllr Barbara Barwick to be Mayor for the next year.  Points of interest to political anoraks (which probably includes most Councillors) include:-

 

  • Labour’s decision to reduce the size of the various Council committees.  This means Planning committees will have only 8 members and scrutiny panels (which are supposed to hold the executive to account) 7.  This gives backbench Labour Councillors less to do – it remains to be seen if they will do it better.

 

  • On the list of bodies outside the Council to which the AGM appoints people, Labour once again put their party first.  On the Schools Forum, 5 Labour Councillors were appointed and the Conservative nomination rejected.  More undemocratically, on the John Roan Foundation, unelected Labour appointees were placed ahead of a Conservative Councillor who represents the ward in which the school is sited.  Similarly on the Blackheath Joint Working Party (which runs across Lewisham and Greenwich) no Conservative nomination was accepted despite us representing Blackheath Westcombe ward.  Lastly, Cllr Nigel Fletcher was rejected from Firepower although Labour had no alternative nomination, which seems ridiculous. 

 

  • The Council will no longer nominate anyone to Trust Thamesmead, which seems to make it much harder to co-ordinate what is happening in a community which is split between two boroughs.

 

Having said that Labour did allow Conservative an extra seat on Overview and Scrutiny, which allows us to ‘call-in’ items where we think the Cabinet, has got it wrong. 

 

After the AGM, we have the Mayor making ceremony next week, held in the Painted Hall in Greenwich at great expense so Labour’s leader can tell us all how lucky we are to live under his rule.  Unfortunately it is my turn to attend, but I can’t say I’m looking forward to it.

 

Author:  Cllr Spencer Drury, Eltham North Ward