Thursday, 2 June 2011

Is Brian Coleman working too hard?

I have become a sort of secretary to the best London bloggers here in Barnet. They write great blog posts, I handle the press. I think of it as an apprenticeship.

Through doing this work I had to look up the emails for all of Barnet's 63 councillors. There were people in that list I've never heard of, and that is as it should be. Only the electors of Underhill ward, to take one example, need to know that they are represented by Rowan Turner, Anita Campbell and Andrew Strongolou (you did know that, didn't you?).

The anonymous, largely unsung heroes and heroines of local representative democracy don't do it for the glory, the fun or even, thankfully, the money (though they can claim £9,500 basic allowance each year, and most do).

They do it, I imagine, from a sense of duty, in the first place to their political party, but also to the community in which they live. Very few of them do it as a step on a political career ladder...

When I sent out the letter to councillors regarding the MetPro audit I didn't expect much comeback immediately but I did get a few out of office replies, one of them from Brian Coleman. It said:
Thank you for your e mail . As I receive a significant number of e mails only Council Officers and residents of Totterdige Ward will receive a reply

I will deal with your e mail if you are a Totteridge resident and have included your full address. If you a constituent and wish to contact me on London Assembly Buisness please e mail my office at City Hall on again including your full address.

Thank you
Lots of thank you's in there, you'll note. That's good, but why restrict himself only to replying to ward or GLA constituents? Coleman is a member of Barnet council's Cabinet, taking a large allowance for doing that job. When can we prevail on him to consider issues that concern the council as a whole such as the MetPro audit undoubtedly is?

If Coleman is struggling to fulfill all his roles properly, drop one of them. Don't be too proud, Coleman, we all have to learn our limits. You've clearly exceeded yours.

1 comment:

Mrs Angry said...

Hmmm. Well done, Ms Morris, you are shaping up very nicely, all things considered. Perhaps in a couple of years time, we might ask Mr Dave Hill to look at some of your posts and see what he thinks? Perhaps tone down the politics, and write a few more posts about cycling, or shoe shopping, in the meanwhile?

I am glad to see you share my concern about Brian's workload. Luckily next year, the burden of some of his duties will be taken from his shoulders by Mr Andrew Dismore. And just because he is a Cabinet member does not mean we are entitled to disturb him by email with our thoughts on any old One Barnet cock up. He is a very busy and very important man, and you had no right to bother him, just because he is in receipt of a trifling allowance from the tax payers of our beloved borough.