Close to two years have passed since Nick Paget-Brown took over the running of our council so it’s timely to look at the differences.
In the days of Merrick Cockell this appeared on the Council’s website.
“Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell is effectively the borough’s Prime Minister, in charge of one of the most popular places to live, work and visit in the country. He is responsible for an area with a local economy which produces more revenue than many small countries. His role makes him an influential figure in London.”
One could never imagine Nick would allow such a preposterously pretentious statement to be made on his behalf and nor can one imagine that Nick would wish to stay in post for nearly fourteen years, as his predecessor did.
Corporate governance experts say the maximum time span for any chief executive or chairman is seven years-and that’s at the extremity: longer, and they say organisations tends to rot from the top.
Merrick Cockell lingered on for close to fourteen. Had he been an exceptional leader allowances might have been made; he was not.
By overstaying his welcome as he did a log jam developed with capable councillors feeling that the top job would just never become available so, in the end, they just gave up.
Even national press coverage of his vast expenses and double and triple jobbing failed to embarrass this most insensitive of leaders.
So how different is the council under the leadership of Nick Paget-Brown?
An interesting story is told of Paget-Brown.
A newly elected Lib Dem councillor was seen wandering around the council chamber looking a bit lost.
In minutes she was taken under Nick’s wing and shown the ropes.
And his decency extends to his treatment of residents.
Nick won’t satisfy everybody but his strategy of ‘getting out and finding out’ is a first step towards restoring the democratic deficit.
He has some important changes to make in the Administration. Certain changes in the Cabinet are also overdue. Two particular names can only be considered as political ballast.
Their grasp of the job has been woefully inadequate and that incompetence overshadows the very real effort Nick Paget-Brown is making to ‘listen to residents’.
Famously, one of those councillors,Mary Weale, now in the Cabinet, was overheard to say of residents, 'we hear, but we don’t listen’. What a crass and stupid comment.
Nick Paget-Brown needs to snuff out this attitude that so symbolised the ‘ancien regime’