Author Topic: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors  (Read 48833 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2013, 10:34:40 PM »
Quote from: Me
Aah....the light dawns, cheers Tobes.

No, still stygian here here. Atramentous even.

Short explanation for those easily bored or confused by the Antics Of The ilk.  (A potential comic opera title if I'm not mistaken) 

The ilk have been at each others (virtual) throats again - both in short bursts of less than 140 characters & longer, uncontrolled and ill-thought cholera type squirts of Facebook diarrhea - and a bit of it landed on my Nike's. 

This seems to happen quite regularly just prior to Remembrance Day, (I mean the ilk fanging each other, not their shit landing on my shoes!),  so perhaps all the red gets the blood lust up on both sides. 

We've seen just about everything else, so I wonder if Swindon will witness its first politician-on-politician 'assault with intent' one of these days  :-\   Perhaps we should play safe and start a sweepstake  :thumb:
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 12:31:02 AM by Geoff Reid »

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2013, 04:34:03 AM »

Time to get back on topic.  :wink:

I spent several hours last night thinking about the original subject matter of this topic - Cllr's Dave Wood and his Missus, Cllr Nicky Sewell.  Why?, because they've cropped up in conversations several times recently and the subject matter of those conversations relates directly to this topic, and beyond.  I don't think it would be unfair to suggest that some of the activities of Cllr's Wood & Sewell, or perhaps I should say Cllr Wood and Cllr Wood, appear even more curious than I had suggested in post #1 of this topic.

Before I elaborate further, might I respectfully suggest that readers slowly peruse what I published in the first post of this topic in May 2011:



Also blogged here: http://www.geoffreid.com/?p=1112



Regular readers of my blog will probably be familiar with my recent notes concerning Swindon's small clutch of Liberal Democrat Councillors who represent the electoral ward of Eastcott and that, in that post, I discussed how the residents of the ward were being subjected to a concentrated bombardment of political Porky-Pies contained in Lib Dem election material.

Well, here's the thing:  Councillor Dave Wood, (the boyfriend of newly elected Eastcott Lib Dem councillor Nicky Sewell), recently appeared on the Talkswindon forum and,  in a discussion topic he euphemisticly named 'Coming Soon: The Truth about Eastcott 2011',  he promised to:

Quote from: Cllr Dave Wood
"Set the record straight"


I became briefly excited by this, until I read a bit further and noticed that he'd almost immediately added:

Quote from: Cllr Dave Wood
"Well, not now.  As soon as I get the time I will be back"


Councillor Dave has been back, but hasn't yet set any records straight.  In fact he's gone to some lengths to avoid answering any questions at all which,  all by itself,  raises yet more questions but, as  Dave has already accused me of trying to divert his 'topic-of-truth',  I thought I might chuck a couple of interesting questions out to the world at large and see what comes back.

During Nicky Sewells election campaign the lib dem election leaflets variously trumpeted the messages that Nicky Sewell was a 'local campaigner', a resident of Bowood road and that she was fiercely opposed to 'HMO's, (no, not Homo's, but 'Houses in multiple occupation').   In no leaflet was reference ever made to Nicky Sewell and Dave Wood being a couple or apparently living together at Nicky's Bowood Road address.

Normally it absolutely should not matter what the living arrangements between two people are, unless of course they are doing something illegal while they are doing it.  I'm not suggesting that Cllr's Sewell and Wood are doing anything illegal, but my curiosity is piqued by the effort Dave and Nicky are both expending as they apparently try to hide where they live from the very people that elected them.

Just prior to  Councillor Wood being elected to council in his nomination papers gave his address as: 21 Bowood Road, Eastcott and his proposer was none other than Nicola E Sewell, his girlfriend and also latterly known as Councillor Nicky Sewell.

Oddly though, after he was elected Councillor Wood submitted his contact details for inclusion on the Swindon Borough Council Website, and listed his home address as:

Quote
Home Address:
c/o Civic Office


Councillor Woods register of interests entry is also interesting because, in the section where councillors must disclose any "Land in the area of the authority in which you have a beneficial interest", Daves entry says starkly:

Quote
Details available at the Civic Offices, Euclid Street, Swindon SN1 2JH


I presume then, that Cllr Wood does have a beneficial interest in some land or property within the Borough, but he does not wish members of the public to easily find out what, or where it might be.  At this point I can only speculate as to why he wants to hide these details from public scrutiny.

In 2011, when she decided to join her boyfriend in the council chamber,  Nicky Sewell also recorded her address as being 21 Bowood Road, Eastcott on her nomination papers but, following Cllr Dave Woods previous example,  post-election she appears to have given her address as:

Quote
Home Address:
c/o Civic Office


This strikes me a being more than a little curious and quite contrary to my previous perception that liberal democrats are wedded to the notion of demanding transparency, openness and honesty from elected public servants.  Considering the considerable gravity which her election material gave to her being a 'local' resident of Eastcott, it seems very strange to me that both she and Dave Wood would, upon being elected to council by other residents of Eastcott, would then go to considerable lengths to hide where they live,  reduce their contact details to the bare minimum and go to  similar lengths to prevent the easy examination of their register of interests.

Perhaps Dave rents out a house to multiple occupants, (embarrassing for him considering the Eastcott Lib Dems apparent policy on HMO's), or maybe the pair of them don't want Eastcotts Catholic population to know they're living in sin.  Despite what their own election material said recently, and what was submitted on Cllr Sewells nomination papers,  it's also possible that neither of them live within the ward and the Bowood Road address may not be where they actually reside.  (that would cause a problem with electoral law of course).

I don't know what the answers are to be honest, (and as Cllr Wood has already said he won't answer questions from anyone he thinks is a labour supporter -  I actively supported Chris Watts' campaign in Eastcott so I guess that makes me a labour supporter in Daves opinion), but I think this is very strange behaviour from two people who actively sought votes from the residents of Eastcott - because they said they wanted to publicly serve those residents - but then try to hide where they live and what other property they have a 'beneficial interest in', within the Borough.

Cllr Wood is refusing to answer reasonable questions about public domain information about himself which ought to be freely and easily available.  His example, which Cllr Sewell is now following, seems to suggest that they might both think that transparency is something which applies to other Borough Councillors, but not to them.  I beg to differ.

Given that it is a mandatory requirement that all Borough Councillors accurately maintain their register of interests and update it within 28 days of any changes, I feel it is my civic duty to stick my nose in and have a good long sniff on behalf of the other incurably curious tax-paying residents of the Borough.  To that end I have today submitted the following freedom of information request.
It may yet prove to be the first of several.


Quote from: Geoff Reid
Dear Swindon Borough Council,

I note that the Register of Interests entry for Swindon Borough
Councillor Dave Wood (Eastcott Ward) does not record details of
land in the area of the authority in which he has a beneficial
interest.

The on-line register of interests document available at

http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=926&T=6&J=3

states that this information is available at the Civic Offices,
Euclid Street, Swindon SN1 2JH.

Question 1: Please supply the address and other relevant details of
any land and properties in the area of the authority in which Cllr
Dave Wood has a beneficial interest.

I note that a register of interests entry for Cllr Nicky Sewell is
not available online at:

http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=1576&J=1

Question 2: Please supply the address and other relevant details of
any land and properties in the area of the authority in which Cllr
Nicky Sewell has a beneficial interest.

Question 3: On the current electoral role for the Borough of
Swindon, at what address or addresses are Nicky Sewell and Dave
Wood registered to vote?



Yours faithfully,

Geoff Reid




As the  'No smoke without fire' analogy is so often proved correct within local politics,  I very much look forward to finding out what it is that Cllr's Wood and Sewell are intent on hiding.


Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2013, 04:56:11 AM »

Oh yeah, I think we're going to uncover what the Cllr's Wood wanted to keep under wraps.  It isn't pretty and I'm fairly sure that Swindon's fledgling 'Urgent Call For Reform' movement will want to talk to Cllr Wood (D) because his continuing presence in the (paid by the taxpayer) role as Chairman of the Swindon Borough Council Standards Committee should probably be urgently and publicly examined as a result of what will come to light later today.

Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2013, 09:41:55 AM »
Will he and his good lady be making an appearance on Thursday??...

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #24 on: December 17, 2013, 11:10:33 AM »
Will he and his good lady be making an appearance on Thursday??...

You beat me to it T!!

but do you know which way they will vote if they do?

I wonder if Tobes will ask them?
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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #25 on: December 17, 2013, 03:04:28 PM »
Will he and his good lady be making an appearance on Thursday??...


Considering that both Cllr Wood (D) and Cllr Wood/Sewell (N.E) are in regular receipt of payments from the public purse because the Conservative leadership saw fit to cement their local coalition by giving Mrs Wood the chairmanship of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Mr Wood Chairmanship of the Standards Committee, Deputy Chairmanships of the Special Committee and Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licensing Sub-Committee]....
....I would say that it is very, very likely that Cllr Wood (D) will vote in support of his Conservative colleagues and do what they can to 'protect' Mayor Martin.

Venality usually trumps Principles in local politics.  The other two lib dems will probably abstain.

I wonder if Tobes will ask them?


Richard, it was recently suggested that you're following Tobes around TS in the same way that 20eyes stalked his victims. Worth 5 minutes of reflection I think  :wink:

Anyway, let's get properly back on topic.....

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #26 on: December 17, 2013, 03:36:45 PM »
My time if quite limited today so I'll sketch the outline of a picture and let members and readers fill in as much of the colour as they see fit.  I'll pop back as and when to publish supporting public domain documents to support what I say.

Lets start with Cllr Sewell, (Mrs Wood), and her register of interests at Swindon Borough Council. http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=1576&T=6

It's immediately obvious that Cllr Sewell has chosen not to disclose her address (singular) and, as we've heard before, the Woods' maintain that the reason for this is because she works as a crime scene investigator, however, the particulars of her employment has not prevented her from disclosing her address on other public domain documents.

In fact it is within other public domain documents that evidence seems to exist which indicates that Cllr Sewell and Cllr Wood regularly use multiple addresses.

In the case of Cllr Sewell, she appears to have deliberately used two identities and two addresses in order to become both the Company Secretary, (as Mrs Nicola Emma Wood of 21 Bowood Road Swindon), and a Director, (as Miss Nicola Emma Sewell of 4 Winifred Street Swindon), for a company called: Association For The Scientific Study Of Anomalous Phenomena (The). Company number 02075226

Cllr Wood is also named as a director for the above company, as: Wood, David CLLR, and in using 'CLLR' Dave Wood has brought his position as an elected member of Swindon Borough Council into association with whatever chicanery both he and Cllr Sewell have been up to with the Association above - and I assure readers that it looks as if there has been some considerable chicanery at ASSAP, to a level which caused Companies House to impose a large fine, (which wasn't then paid), the original ASSAP company to be struck off, a new company to be incorporated with a very slightly different name (07418442), allegations of illegal trading/operating, resignations of board members and a subsequent paying of the fine for, and re-instatement of, the original company. 

Top that lot off with a a mass exodus of ASSAP members and grumbles about a 'Wood Oligarchy', bullying and underhand practices and the story starts to get properly interesting.  As if that weren't enough, Cllr Wood (D) was apparently challenged about the above on ASSAP's facebook forum.  It is alleged that Cllr Wood gave an incorrect account for the change in the name of the company before deleting, or causing to be deleted, those parts of the discussion from facebook.  I don't know if screenshots exist but I'm sure we'd all like to see them if they do.

I'm running out of time, but there's a lot more to this. There also seem to be irregularities with ASSAP's status as a registered charity for which ASSAP members seem to be holding Cllr Wood directly responsible.

My parting thoughts for today are:  Is it illegal, when incorporating a company, for one person to present themselves as two different people and use two different addresses to do so?

Are Cllr's Wood and Sewell appropriate persons to be chairing any Council committee, let alone the Standards Committee and Health Overview And Scrutiny Committees if they are shown and proven to have given misleading information to Companies House?

It's ironic really, my original interest in how many homes/addresses Cllr's Wood and Sewell owned and used was piqued because I was interested to know whether an electoral (multiple registrations and voting) fraud was occurring. 

I think this is far more interesting.  :)
« Last Edit: December 17, 2013, 04:24:30 PM by Geoff Reid »

Offline DaveWood

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #27 on: December 17, 2013, 06:38:57 PM »
Returning for a one-post only appearance.   I've no doubt silly innuendo will continue for a long time to come, but I won't be coming back to see it now that I've set the record straight.

This silly post is a collection of inaccuracies, misleading statements and irrelevant information.

1. I'm not deputy chair of any committees stated

2. A former secretary of a charity I volunteer for added (accidentally, I assume) a duplicate entry for Nicky 'Wood' when she became secretary.  I've just seen this and corrected.  I assume 'Cllr' was added as an honorific instead of 'Mr' by someone else, but does not imply any link with the authority. 

3. Our previous address was on the system and had not been updated.  And now it is.

4. A volunteer at the charity forgot to file a return which resulted in a fine that was then paid, all a number of years ago.  Whilst I was also a volunteer trustee at that time it was not my action.  I was part of a committee that asked for the fine to be paid rather than form a new company.

5. Some years later, an entirely unconnected, a disgrunted former volunteer left due to a behavioural matter entirely unconnected.  I'm not sure what the comments about members blaming me for anything are about, apart from one or two disgrunted ex-volunteers.  I've had no other members contact me and it wasn't raised at the Annual Meeting of the charity last month.  And any members can ask for a matter to be raised without even attending.

6. There are no other facebook accounts or posts deleted, or whatever any of that means

7. There are no irregularities with ASSAP presently, status wise or anything else. 

8. I'm glad you seemed to drop the idea of electoral fraud  :WTF:

To sum up: sloppy administration by volunteers, personal politics and all entirely irrelevant.

Silly as this posting is, I thought it right to set the record straight.

And again I won't be checking back for any replies to this, but I hope you have hours of fun with it anyway!

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #28 on: December 17, 2013, 06:44:59 PM »
That's an interesting version from Councillor Wood. 

Tomorrow I'll publish the documents and readers can decide whether Cllr Wood's version trumps the public record :)

Sent from my GT-N7000 using Tapatalk


Offline concerned_of_Old_Town

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #29 on: December 17, 2013, 08:21:56 PM »
Thanks for the update Dave.


At this stage not particularly bothered about the "allegations" which Geoff has posted as know from experience voluntary/charity admin can be a nightmare.  You get dammed if you do but dammed if you don't.  However will review the evidence when presented.


However if you are reading this and as one of your constituents more concerned how (if) you will vote on the 19th.

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #30 on: December 17, 2013, 09:00:30 PM »
I was curious to know what Cllr Dave Wood does for a living in a sort of, "down the pub - what do you do for a living mate?" kind of way.

According to his register of interests, he is an SBC councillor and a member of this Ghostbuster Charity and that's it.

Maybe his Grannie didn't tell him that you need to get a trade that you can fall back on? :popcorn:
What's it all about?

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #31 on: December 18, 2013, 07:05:41 AM »
I was curious to know what Cllr Dave Wood does for a living in a sort of, "down the pub - what do you do for a living mate?" kind of way.

It won't be any sort of public speaking.

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« Reply #32 on: December 18, 2013, 07:16:21 AM »
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 07:46:38 AM by Geoff Reid »

Offline Muggins

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #33 on: December 18, 2013, 09:10:33 AM »
I can't comment on Dave and Emma's validity in anything you say or otherwise Geoff. Don't know them well enough although Dave is a friend on facebook probably because he has green leanings - litter pick etc. which he appears to organise and attend quite regulary.  I seem to remember that he andEmma Wrote  book, so perhaps that's what he does - writes.

However - the charity and company, probably linked because many charities are 'charitable companies with limited liabilities' 'not for profit'  and becoming both is a sensible way of protecting the trustees of the charity.   It's a bit of a specialist thing.

It's also true that many groups don't know how to run these properly and even when they do, it is complicated.  I always treat the one's I'm involved with as a charity first and company second but still have to deal with the legal bits of both. 

The problem with this is that you don't get qualified people to be secretary, just the first person to stick their hand up usually.  Groups also don't meet a the office every day and usually a lot of trust is put in the person who stuck up their hand.

Having said that the trustees of the charity are all equally responsible for the smooth running of the charity.
Dave is right when he says the place to bring complaints is to the AGM. Unfortunately these usually don't provide the audience that some want and it often gets taken out of the group.   Anyone thinking there is some hanky panky should be writing to the charity commission, who WILL investigate, believe me! I once they do get their bit between their teeth they don't let go. The charity commission is the worst of the two believe me.

 
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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #34 on: December 18, 2013, 11:38:09 AM »
MUGGS, I HAVE AN ONGOING BIT OF BOTHER AT THE MOMENT, CAN YOU SEND ME THE ADDRESS OF THE CHARITY ASSoc please..
regards K....

Offline Tobes

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #35 on: December 18, 2013, 12:57:57 PM »
Quote
I wonder if Tobes will ask them?

A wonder already obliged Mr S - I emailed Dave a couple of weeks ago to let him know my feelings on the matter (already outlined on TS). It'll be interesting to see what they do. Based on your previous comments though, if they vote with the motion, I presume you'll accuse them of 'politicking'... and if they vote against the motion, I also presume you'll accuse them of going along with the tories and letting Martin off the hook...?

Out of interest, which way would you like them to vote...?  :D

Personally, I hope they vote for the motion. Or, if they feel that the presumption of innocence until proven guilty aspect has to apply until standards/scrutiny has looked into the issue, I'd prefer to see them abstain entirely.

Lets see. 

Quote
However - the charity and company, probably linked because many charities are 'charitable companies with limited liabilities' 'not for profit'  and becoming both is a sensible way of protecting the trustees of the charity. 

As a trustee of a charity, that would seem entirely in line with my experience.

Quote
I always treat the one's I'm involved with as a charity first and company second but still have to deal with the legal bits of both. 

Yup - its the role of a trustee to scrutinise and hold the day-to-day managers of a charity to account and to act as a balance as well as a legal signatory to check as far as they can that all is above board. Mind you, I've no idea if the Ghostbusters have any employees, or whether the whole thing is run by un-paid volunteers (?)

Quote
At this stage not particularly bothered about the "allegations" which Geoff has posted as know from experience voluntary/charity admin can be a nightmare.  You get dammed if you do but dammed if you don't.

Certainly chimes with me.

There is a big jump between cock-up/s (especially within a disparate organisation made up of volunteers and part-timers) and conspiracy to do wrong. I'd also be cautious about grumbles and rumours emanating from within a bunch of people many of whom I presume believe in conspiracies (ghosts, aliens etc!) as a way of life. But if Geoff has something concrete, like you, I'll be interested to see what's what.
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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #36 on: December 18, 2013, 01:19:18 PM »
On the motion or vote issue, surely they have to go for the option, which is the best for the name of this town in general.
will anybody be influenced by the current position on the council and what a yes or no 'vote' would do to the job in question..
As for the abstain point, aren't they the champions of sitting on their hands at vote time.... :coffee:

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #37 on: December 18, 2013, 01:46:31 PM »
In answer to your question Tobes I would reluctantly vote for the motion, although  the Mayor has yet to be found guilty even though he has shown every indication that he is guilty of those unfortunate words and that he has 'form' in his indiscretion.  I say that reluctantly because I believe in innocence before proven guilt, but in the best interests of Swindon can we afford the luxury of the Mayor's potential for further unfortunate behaviour?  I suggest we cannot take the risk.

As for the vote I believe it is already lost and that the Liberals, with the possible exception of the Lady from Wroughton will vote with the Conservatives.

As for this being political, of course it is and everybody knows it and that is why the Mayor will survive.

I take it we shall have the opportunity to discuss in person on Thursday night Tobes?
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Offline Tobes

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #38 on: December 18, 2013, 02:16:13 PM »
Quote
On the motion or vote issue, surely they have to go for the option, which is the best for the name of this town in general.
will anybody be influenced by the current position on the council and what a yes or no 'vote' would do to the job in question..
As for the abstain point, aren't they the champions of sitting on their hands at vote time....

I suppose it depends on what you think anyone should do if they think the censure of Martin ought to be left to the vagaries of scrutiny/standards, or whether its relevant to put a line in the sand regarding a man who's the civic figurehead of the entire town... The question isn't even really about his guilt or otherwise - its a vote in the councillors confidence in his ability to discharge his duty with any credibility under the current circumstances.

On that, Ko, I think you and I are in complete agreement  :wink:

Quote
I take it we shall have the opportunity to discuss in person on Thursday night Tobes?

Nope - I'll be spending my time with my family
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Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #39 on: December 18, 2013, 02:24:11 PM »
Something has probably happened in Dave’s Ghostbusting charity, “The Association For The Scientific Study Of Anomalous Phenomena”, as 7 Directors retired in June 2013, leaving 4 or 5, depending on your take on things.

Councillor Dave Wood, remains a director, as do 2 others, including a Fundraising Consultant, plus of course Ms Nicola Emma Sewell, (Director)  and  her physic shadow, Mrs Nicola Emma Wood (Company Secretary).

The net worth of the charity is £3,100, which given that they offer to make grants of, usually £100, for “self-help” Ghostbusters, is not very much at all.

It would appear then that Dave’s sole source of income is from his SBC Council Member allowances plus, of course the top up from sitting on 3 committees.

Dave has been unable to attend any 6 of the full Council meetings since February this year when he last attended. Maybe he was there in spirit? Is this value for money?
What's it all about?