Residents association councillors have accused the Leader of the Council of playing ‘playground politics’ following a Governance meeting on the 12th of August.
This is a yearly meeting that takes place where the committee meets to confirm Councillor appointments that deal with outside bodies.
Councillors are appointed to outside bodies to represent the best interests of Havering’s residents in the use of Council funds to support the different associations and organisations. Outside bodies include Havering Theatre Trust, Havering Arts Council, Havering Association for People with Disabilities, Local Government General Assembly and Reserve Forces & Cadets Association.
Councillor Gillian Ford Chair of Havering’s Residents Associations said “This is a typical Councillor Damian White move which was utterly predictable and runs against long established conventions not to appoint on political party lines to outside bodies, as the majority are community led and non-political. He may be able to hold his own Councillors to ransom but it doesn’t wash with the true opposition members. Our members have dedicated hours of their time to a variety of associations and the Leaders decision is working against him as we are already receiving comments from associations including one from a Conservative saying “I am so ashamed”.
Councillor Ray Morgan said ”it is disturbing that the Conservatives are appointing Councillor Melvin Wallace to the Queens Theatre despite his having been removed from the Conservative Group, by Conservative Head Office, for allegedly sexually assaulting a fellow female Councillor. The requirement was for the Conservative Group not to work with Councillor Wallace, so once again we see the Leader of Havering Council acting as a dictator and bending the rules to the detriment of our borough and its residents.”
Leader of the Council Councillor Damian White told the Havering Daily: “The council has a number of outside bodies that they work with. It used to be that all the positions were held by the council.
“In 2014 we had a coalition so the positions were shared out. In 2018 although we had the administration I offered to continue with this agreement.
“The clerk sends out information before the meeting and the opposition did not respond. This is not a takeover, there are other positions held by non-Conservative councillors.”
The positions in question are held for a year and then decided again. Councillor White has continued to divide these positions with other non-Conservative councillors. It is ultimately the Governance Committee’s decision by democratic vote.