Mayor chain decision 'not democratic'

Bicester Advertiser: Councillors Les Sibley, left, and Nick Cotter with the list of past mayors. Picture: OX57333 Andrew Walmsley Buy this photo Councillors Les Sibley, left, and Nick Cotter with the list of past mayors. Picture: OX57333 Andrew Walmsley

COUNCIL leaders have been accused of “running roughshod” over democracy in a bid to approve a controversial £8,600 new Mayoral chain.

Bicester Town Council members who opposed the move said a vote was taken too quickly in an attempt to get the chain approved.

Now they are warning they will take their case over the council’s heads unless a new vote is taken. But ruling Tories say the vote stands.

Members approved the £8,636.52 chain on February 11 despite concerns the “vain” purchase was not right during a time of austerity. Three councillors “called in” the decision for review, putting the purchase on hold.

They planned to put forward an alternative on March 26, but Mayor Dan Sames then called an extraordinary council meeting for February 25. The call-in was discussed at that meeting and the chain decision then approved on March 11 at a meeting brought forward from March 26.

But Labour’s Les Sibley and Nick Cotter and Conservative Debbie Pickford said the council should have waited until March 26 for a decision.

They say if it is not resolved “satisfactorily” they will take the matter to the district auditor or Local Government Ombudsman.

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Mr Sibley told councillors on Monday: “I believe the calling of an extraordinary meeting by the town mayor and chief officers was a blatant attempt to frustrate and run roughshod over the council’s standing orders”. The move was “to undermine the democratic calling in”.

Miss Pickford put forward an “olive branch” motion on March 11 to call on the council to hold off buying the chain until the complaint was resolved. But it was rejected nine to three by her Conservative colleagues.

Council Conservative group leader James Porter said: “This is an absolute undisputable democratic decision by this council. Everything following is full of bluster trying to put up a smoke screen.

“If people want to put in a complaint let them do so but this council has made its decision.”

Comments (14)

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6:03pm Fri 15 Mar 13

Myron Blatz says...

Oh Cllr Porter what should you do, you wanted a fancy new chain, but not your crew! Yes, another case of 'true blue Tory political autocracy' clearly in action, by a bunch of duly elected status-seekers. I mean, they get their names inscribed on golfing trophies, so why not the Mayor's chain and medal? It's all stuff and nonsense, and would never be tolerated at the local Masonic Lodge or Toastmasters branch - and even your common double glazing sales manager or estate agent 'of the month' gets an inscribed trophy. I just feel sorry for the poor mugs in Bicester who'll pay for it via Council Tax. Of more concern are the various rumours about the way big supermarkets get planning approval at the expense of local retailers, and the way certain 'preferred partners' apparently get awarded Council contracts - is this all coincidence?
Oh Cllr Porter what should you do, you wanted a fancy new chain, but not your crew! Yes, another case of 'true blue Tory political autocracy' clearly in action, by a bunch of duly elected status-seekers. I mean, they get their names inscribed on golfing trophies, so why not the Mayor's chain and medal? It's all stuff and nonsense, and would never be tolerated at the local Masonic Lodge or Toastmasters branch - and even your common double glazing sales manager or estate agent 'of the month' gets an inscribed trophy. I just feel sorry for the poor mugs in Bicester who'll pay for it via Council Tax. Of more concern are the various rumours about the way big supermarkets get planning approval at the expense of local retailers, and the way certain 'preferred partners' apparently get awarded Council contracts - is this all coincidence? Myron Blatz
  • Score: 1

6:45pm Fri 15 Mar 13

steve1955 says...

Myron
What are you saying Naughty Naughty they are all honest people in political parties have tou ever known a politician be convicted of anything in a court of law????????
Myron What are you saying Naughty Naughty they are all honest people in political parties have tou ever known a politician be convicted of anything in a court of law???????? steve1955
  • Score: 1

8:34pm Fri 15 Mar 13

tired99 says...

Bicester Town Councillors need to get over themselves and realise just how unimportant they are. At the end of the day they are only responsible for parks, graveyards and Christmas lights.
Bicester Town Councillors need to get over themselves and realise just how unimportant they are. At the end of the day they are only responsible for parks, graveyards and Christmas lights. tired99
  • Score: 1

9:21pm Fri 15 Mar 13

Severian says...

Once again the local Tories prove that they put their personal vanity ahead of the people of Bicester.

It just goes to show that absolute power allows people to behave with absolute contempt.

The solution is obvious - we need to vote them out of office in this May's elections, and every year thereafter until they learn to care about the people not themselves.
Once again the local Tories prove that they put their personal vanity ahead of the people of Bicester. It just goes to show that absolute power allows people to behave with absolute contempt. The solution is obvious - we need to vote them out of office in this May's elections, and every year thereafter until they learn to care about the people not themselves. Severian
  • Score: 1

10:05pm Fri 15 Mar 13

Arkright says...

Selfish, selfish, SELFISH ... how about donating it to Comic Relief or a local worth while cause ... any Town Councillors in my shop from on will be told to leave .. This culture of selfishness needs to stop !! ...
Selfish, selfish, SELFISH ... how about donating it to Comic Relief or a local worth while cause ... any Town Councillors in my shop from on will be told to leave .. This culture of selfishness needs to stop !! ... Arkright
  • Score: 0

10:50am Sat 16 Mar 13

Matlowsrule says...

I think previous posters need to actually get the facts before they comment. I too was a bit shocked when I read about it so I asked questions and examined the evidence.

The cost that we tax payers are paying is only £1700 that is less than is spent those stupid snow machines at Xmas lights. Apparently this will last for 34 years so that makes £50 a year. A small price for recording the Town's history.

The rest of the money (just over £5k) comes from the sales of some statue that was sold yonks ago and can only be spent on something the Town can keep.

I don't see how it is selfish or vanity when the councillors don't get anything out of it. Perhaps you think they should sell the current chain if you think it is that unimportant. Quite frankly there are more important things going on and I don't see why so much fuss is being made about something so trivial!
I think previous posters need to actually get the facts before they comment. I too was a bit shocked when I read about it so I asked questions and examined the evidence. The cost that we tax payers are paying is only £1700 that is less than is spent those stupid snow machines at Xmas lights. Apparently this will last for 34 years so that makes £50 a year. A small price for recording the Town's history. The rest of the money (just over £5k) comes from the sales of some statue that was sold yonks ago and can only be spent on something the Town can keep. I don't see how it is selfish or vanity when the councillors don't get anything out of it. Perhaps you think they should sell the current chain if you think it is that unimportant. Quite frankly there are more important things going on and I don't see why so much fuss is being made about something so trivial! Matlowsrule
  • Score: 1

11:13am Sat 16 Mar 13

Lezzo1 says...

I agree with all the above comments.
If the Bicester Council have that Extra money to spend. Then why not put it to good use.
Use it for the upkeep of The Garth Park House, Grounds, Animal Graves and Stables which belong to the People of Bicester. The condition of the Garth House is the Bicester Council's responsibility. They have made use of the house ever since it was given (Left) to the People of Bicester. They have sold off various parts of the Garth Grounds. They sold off the Garth Fields. They have sold off any thing of Value. (Such as the Othello Bust that sat half way up the Stairs) All money's made from these sales should have been spent on the Upkeep of the Garth House, Park, Stables and the Animal Graves which the People Bicester left in their Care. Now that the Bicester are due to move to new offices, Will the Garth House be used for Bicester's Museum and the Various Groups in Bicester that have wished to use it over the years, but have been told that upstairs are is in an unfit state.
What I am trying to say is
"Will the Garth House, the Stables, the Animal Graves be left in the same condition when Bicester Council moves out, as it was when Bicester Council moved in"
If not, then surely they are responsible for putting it right, as it was Left In Their Care For The People Of Bicester by the People of Bicester. Thankyou Lezzo.
P/s I have Photo's of most of Animals in the Graveyard 1917 onwards.
I agree with all the above comments. If the Bicester Council have that Extra money to spend. Then why not put it to good use. Use it for the upkeep of The Garth Park House, Grounds, Animal Graves and Stables which belong to the People of Bicester. The condition of the Garth House is the Bicester Council's responsibility. They have made use of the house ever since it was given (Left) to the People of Bicester. They have sold off various parts of the Garth Grounds. They sold off the Garth Fields. They have sold off any thing of Value. (Such as the Othello Bust that sat half way up the Stairs) All money's made from these sales should have been spent on the Upkeep of the Garth House, Park, Stables and the Animal Graves which the People Bicester left in their Care. Now that the Bicester are due to move to new offices, Will the Garth House be used for Bicester's Museum and the Various Groups in Bicester that have wished to use it over the years, but have been told that upstairs are is in an unfit state. What I am trying to say is "Will the Garth House, the Stables, the Animal Graves be left in the same condition when Bicester Council moves out, as it was when Bicester Council moved in" If not, then surely they are responsible for putting it right, as it was Left In Their Care For The People Of Bicester by the People of Bicester. Thankyou Lezzo. P/s I have Photo's of most of Animals in the Graveyard 1917 onwards. Lezzo1
  • Score: 0

11:41am Sat 16 Mar 13

Arkright says...

I think previous posters need to actually get the facts before they comment. I too was a bit shocked when I read about it so I asked questions and examined the evidence.

The cost that we tax payers are paying is only £1700 that is less than is spent those stupid snow machines at Xmas lights. Apparently this will last for 34 years so that makes £50 a year. A small price for recording the Town's history.

The rest of the money (just over £5k) comes from the sales of some statue that was sold yonks ago and can only be spent on something the Town can keep.

I don't see how it is selfish or vanity when the councillors don't get anything out of it. Perhaps you think they should sell the current chain if you think it is that unimportant. Quite frankly there are more important things going on and I don't see why so much fuss is being made about something so trivial!

ONLY £1700 ... says it all really !
I think previous posters need to actually get the facts before they comment. I too was a bit shocked when I read about it so I asked questions and examined the evidence. The cost that we tax payers are paying is only £1700 that is less than is spent those stupid snow machines at Xmas lights. Apparently this will last for 34 years so that makes £50 a year. A small price for recording the Town's history. The rest of the money (just over £5k) comes from the sales of some statue that was sold yonks ago and can only be spent on something the Town can keep. I don't see how it is selfish or vanity when the councillors don't get anything out of it. Perhaps you think they should sell the current chain if you think it is that unimportant. Quite frankly there are more important things going on and I don't see why so much fuss is being made about something so trivial! ONLY £1700 ... says it all really ! Arkright
  • Score: 0

12:02pm Sat 16 Mar 13

bicester born and breed says...

As long as we have party politics in the town council it will continue to be voting to follow the party line, and not what is good for the town.
It is the same with the position of the mayor. When we had independents sitting on the council the mayor was someone who had served the town, now it seems to be a party political reward.
Could it be that the councillors want their names engraved in case the town forgets they were ever the mayor!
As long as we have party politics in the town council it will continue to be voting to follow the party line, and not what is good for the town. It is the same with the position of the mayor. When we had independents sitting on the council the mayor was someone who had served the town, now it seems to be a party political reward. Could it be that the councillors want their names engraved in case the town forgets they were ever the mayor! bicester born and breed
  • Score: 1

12:37pm Sat 16 Mar 13

Lezzo1 says...

Well. Facts. The Statue as you call it, belonged to the Garth House, therefore The People Of Bicester.
It was sold at a very good auction house for around £80,000 give or take a bit. Was that money, at that time, spent on the upkeep of the Garth ? just give me some idea of what £80.000 then, would be worth now, in todays money (plus bonuses).
The Stupid Snow Machine/Lights.
Well Facts. Who's Idea was that. ?
Well Facts. As shown in the Photo above, we have a perfectly good Board for recording previous Mayors, that can be read quite easily.
Well Facts. Chain of office, which nobody can get close enough to read, must therefore be for Selfish and Vanity as it can't be for any-thing else.
Well Facts. I find it strange that you should read my letter and yet only comment on the 'Othello Bust' that belonged to the Garth House and People of Bicester.
Well Facts. The Current Chain Of Office. This was presented to the Council at the time by a Bicester Person and is an important part of Bicester's Heritage and should be kept as Part of Bicester's History.
Well Facts. Why do we need the so called Chain, when we have a perfectly Good Board (Plaque) that has been used for recording Bicesters Past Mayors, if there is no room on the board. We can get another made. Lezzo.
Well. Facts. The Statue as you call it, belonged to the Garth House, therefore The People Of Bicester. It was sold at a very good auction house for around £80,000 give or take a bit. Was that money, at that time, spent on the upkeep of the Garth ? just give me some idea of what £80.000 then, would be worth now, in todays money (plus bonuses). The Stupid Snow Machine/Lights. Well Facts. Who's Idea was that. ? Well Facts. As shown in the Photo above, we have a perfectly good Board for recording previous Mayors, that can be read quite easily. Well Facts. Chain of office, which nobody can get close enough to read, must therefore be for Selfish and Vanity as it can't be for any-thing else. Well Facts. I find it strange that you should read my letter and yet only comment on the 'Othello Bust' that belonged to the Garth House and People of Bicester. Well Facts. The Current Chain Of Office. This was presented to the Council at the time by a Bicester Person and is an important part of Bicester's Heritage and should be kept as Part of Bicester's History. Well Facts. Why do we need the so called Chain, when we have a perfectly Good Board (Plaque) that has been used for recording Bicesters Past Mayors, if there is no room on the board. We can get another made. Lezzo. Lezzo1
  • Score: 0

1:10pm Sat 16 Mar 13

tired99 says...

The fact is that most Town/Parish Councillors across England do not receive an allowance. In Bicester they get at least £800 each plus expenses, from what I remember. In addition, such small Councils do not employ the number of staff that Bicester does. I notice that the precept has gone up significantly again when most Councils are freezing theirs.

It's a sad state of affairs when the purchase of a chain headline news. Maybe the real story should be a review of the Town Council as a whole!
The fact is that most Town/Parish Councillors across England do not receive an allowance. In Bicester they get at least £800 each plus expenses, from what I remember. In addition, such small Councils do not employ the number of staff that Bicester does. I notice that the precept has gone up significantly again when most Councils are freezing theirs. It's a sad state of affairs when the purchase of a chain headline news. Maybe the real story should be a review of the Town Council as a whole! tired99
  • Score: 0

3:22pm Sat 16 Mar 13

Lezzo1 says...

Well said.
Well said. Lezzo1
  • Score: 0

10:03pm Sat 16 Mar 13

Severian says...

Got my council tax bill today. Bicester Town precept is almost £1m. Hard to believe they get so much money to spend on so little.
Got my council tax bill today. Bicester Town precept is almost £1m. Hard to believe they get so much money to spend on so little. Severian
  • Score: 1

11:27pm Sat 16 Mar 13

steve1955 says...

1700 quid is not a lot of money when its not yours your spending but its a lot when its your money these councillors and their supporters are taking the council taxpayers for mugs to them its a big ego trip so one of them can dangle a bit of bling round their neck and prance around
1700 quid is not a lot of money when its not yours your spending but its a lot when its your money these councillors and their supporters are taking the council taxpayers for mugs to them its a big ego trip so one of them can dangle a bit of bling round their neck and prance around steve1955
  • Score: 0

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