Thursday 10 December 2009

This little piggy came to Barnet

Later today, Barnet’s Conservative councillors will elect a new leader to take over from Mike Freer. The contest is between Fiona Bulmer and warden snatcher Lynne Hillan.

As well as being the architect of the decision to axe wardens from those living in sheltered accommodation (but not before her own mother was moved to a new home not threatened by the cuts), Cllr Hillan has developed a reputation for rampant snout-in-the troughism. As Tory Chief Whip, she had the rules changed so that she could receive a larger allowance than the other party whips (not that any of the whips should be paid for by the taxpayer).

In May, Hillan voted in favour of massive hikes in allowances for councillors - some by up to 50%. After the predictable public outcry, several councillors announced that they would not accept any increase this year.

A spokesman for Barnet Council confirmed to Not The Barnet Times that Fiona Bulmer graciously waived her entitlement to a rise. Lynne Hillan, on the other hand, decided to fill her boots and claims every penny she can from hard pressed taxpayers (who also had to stump up for her business losses when her former company failed to pay the tax due).

If the sensible majority of Conservative councillors lose their nerve and elect Hillan tonight, this will create a vacancy for deputy leader. Not The Barnet Times understands that Cllr Melvin Cohen has been furiously ringing round councillors to drum up support for his campaign to be Hillan’s bag carrier. Regular readers will recall that when it comes to unbridled greed, Melvin Cohen has form.

In the private sector, workers are accepting cuts or pay freezes in order to keep their jobs. Public sector workers have been told that their pay rises will be capped at 1%. If Barnet’s Tory councillors elect two of the greediest troughers to lead the party into the elections in May, what signal does that send out to the electorate?

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