Labour group facing more greed accusations after ousting councillor from office
THE ruling Labour group in North East Lincolnshire is facing further accusations of greed after ousting a Conservative councillor from the chairmanship of a non-political organisation.
Councillor Keith Brookes, leader of the Conservative group, was unseated as chairman of the Cleethorpes Charter Trustees after ten years in the position, and replaced by Labour's Hazel Chase at the group's annual general meeting.
The organisation was set up in 1996 following the abolition of Cleethorpes Borough Council in order to preserve the heritage of the town's civic buildings and regalia.
As tenant of the town hall it is responsible for the upkeep of the building and also conducts guided tours.
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Its membership comprises the nine ward councillors in the three Cleethorpes wards of Croft Baker, Haverstoe and Sidney Sussex.
And at the group's annual general meeting the six Labour councillors voted for council leader Chris Shaw's proposal to replace Mr Brookes with Mrs Chase and appoint newly-elected Councillor Ray Oxby as vice-chairman.
Mr Brookes says the move is a further sign that Labour has become power-mad after taking overall control of the council in May.
It follows his criticism of the ruling administration over its decision not to allow Conservative Melanie Dickerson to become mayor, and to give chairmanship of all the scrutiny panels to councillors from its own party.
However, Labour leader Chris Shaw, defended the decision, saying that the position was not a job for life.
Mr Brookes said: "It has always been recognised that whoever is chairman and deputy chairman is somebody with long service and knowledge of the history of Cleethorpes. Councillor Chase has been a member for one year and has never attended a Charter Trustees meeting, and Councillor Thurogood has only been a member for a matter of weeks.
"I am sure that any of the members, given the right experience, would do an admirable job, but it does take a number of years to build that up.
"Last year Councillor Shaw proposed me as chairman and said he thought I had done an excellent job and hoped I would carry on for the good of the trustees and the town hall. What has changed?
"It came as a surprise because I didn't think that Councillor Shaw and his Labour colleagues would bring themselves so low as to turn the Trustees into a political animal.
"It just proves the ongoing Labour greed to take every position possible. They are more interested in themselves and what they can get than what they can actually do for residents and businesses in the area. It is a real worry."
Mr Shaw said: "When Councillor Brookes was elected to the post ten years ago I didn't realise it was a job for life. It was a fair and democratic vote and I'm afraid he lost the vote."
He said that Mr Brookes was re-elected last year because he was overseeing an ongoing project that has since been completed.
"Councillor Chase will do an excellent job as chairman because, like Councillor Brookes, she has got Cleethorpes at heart. And Councillor Thurogood has lived in the area for many years, and as an ex-planning officer he knows the town hall very well as he was based there.
"Rather than having a pop at new councillors, Councillor Brookes could have offered his help to the new chairman and vice-chairman of the Charter Trustees.
"It seems it is all about position for Councillor Brookes, not about serving the people, and I'm afraid this is one position for which he did not win the vote.
"I think he is causing a fuss over nothing. I think he needs to spend his time doing ward work rather than worrying about whether or not his name is on a bit of wood in the council chamber."
Meanwhile Labour's Norma Lincoln and Conservative Alex Baxter were re-elected as chairman and vice-chairman respectively of the Grimsby Charter Trustees.