The ArgusMP Norman Baker calls in auditors to 'dysfunctional and out of control' council (From The Argus)

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MP Norman Baker calls in auditors to 'dysfunctional and out of control' council

The Argus: Norman Baker Norman Baker

MP Norman Baker has called in the auditors to investigate Seaford Town Council after sensational allegations of bullying, incompetence, infighting, out-of-control spending and secrecy. 

Last Thursday, police were called after fighting broke out at a meeting where a planned council tax precept rise of 9% was discussed.

This followed the resignation of mayor Anthony White, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, following a disagreement with town council leader Ian White (no relation). 

Councillor Rita Scarfe also stood down from her post at the weekend shortly after the meeting last Thursday.

Former town councillor Andrew Hamilton, who resigned from his post two years ago, described councillors as “no more than puppets being told what to do”.

In a press release announcing his decision to write to the District Auditor, several policitions are quoted in support of his move.

It included support from Seaford’s Lib Dem county councillor Carolyn Lambert, who said the council “does not appear to want to operate openly and democratically”.

Town councillor Sarah McStravick also said she was also concerned a £400,000 grant for Seaford Museum was at risk of being lost because the council failed to act on an expired lease.

Mr Baker described Seaford Town Council as “dysfunctional and out of control”.

He said: “I owe it my constituents in what is the biggest town in my constituency to take action. That’s why I have written to the independent District Auditor to ask for an urgent investigation.”

Councillor Ian White said: “It’s not right to comment. All decisions made are made by the controlling group. It’s democracy.”

In a Seaford council statement councillors Paul Franklin and Barry Burfield said they are seeking clarity from Mr Baker on whether his statement “has basis in, and is evidenced in fact, or whether his statement is one of personal opinion”.


They stated the lease of the museum was redrafted last year by a former officer of the council and returned to the council solicitor and the Martello tenant.


“The lead members for the council have reviewed the circumstances for the delay in finalising and signing the lease, and are satisfied that under the circumstances the lease negations are now being expedited within the constraints of legal process,” they added.

Comments (13)

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12:49pm Mon 20 Jan 14

s&k says...

Fair play to Norman for taking the staff's claims seriously and listening to them. Perhaps the auditors need to do this more often?
Fair play to Norman for taking the staff's claims seriously and listening to them. Perhaps the auditors need to do this more often? s&k
  • Score: 20

12:54pm Mon 20 Jan 14

michael505 says...

What about auditing dysfunctional and out of control MP's as I can think of a few !!!
What about auditing dysfunctional and out of control MP's as I can think of a few !!! michael505
  • Score: 2

1:04pm Mon 20 Jan 14

Seaford666 says...

Well done Norman, now lets see this followed through to better Council - p.s. can we have our mayor back?
Well done Norman, now lets see this followed through to better Council - p.s. can we have our mayor back? Seaford666
  • Score: 7

1:36pm Mon 20 Jan 14

BobbyVee says...

Party politics have NO place in a town council.
This audit is long overdue, point 9 above tells you all you need to know about our council
Party politics have NO place in a town council. This audit is long overdue, point 9 above tells you all you need to know about our council BobbyVee
  • Score: 15

1:45pm Mon 20 Jan 14

Fight_Back says...

This will be the same Norman Baker who supported Lewes District Council in spending tens of thousands of tax payers money in fighting BHA despite a majority of tax payers in Lewes objecting to this spend. This will be the same Norman Baker who supported the forging of photos for a newsletter showing Ditchling Beacon with a view of the new Amex stadium. This will be the same Norman Baker who accused John Prescott of corruption for accepting a free pie from BHA despite his own expenses that he claimed being very dubious. This will be the the same Norman Baker who failed completely to improve rail or road services when Minister of Transport. This will be the same Norman Baker who claimed it was possible to walk from Brighton Station to Sheepcote Valley in a mere 25 minutes.

I hold no view of Seaford Town Council but for our Norm to be pretending that he is some pillar of justice and honesty beggers belief.
This will be the same Norman Baker who supported Lewes District Council in spending tens of thousands of tax payers money in fighting BHA despite a majority of tax payers in Lewes objecting to this spend. This will be the same Norman Baker who supported the forging of photos for a newsletter showing Ditchling Beacon with a view of the new Amex stadium. This will be the same Norman Baker who accused John Prescott of corruption for accepting a free pie from BHA despite his own expenses that he claimed being very dubious. This will be the the same Norman Baker who failed completely to improve rail or road services when Minister of Transport. This will be the same Norman Baker who claimed it was possible to walk from Brighton Station to Sheepcote Valley in a mere 25 minutes. I hold no view of Seaford Town Council but for our Norm to be pretending that he is some pillar of justice and honesty beggers belief. Fight_Back
  • Score: 11

2:07pm Mon 20 Jan 14

Quiterie says...

Let's be clear here...... Norman Baker has NOT "called in the auditors". He doesn't have the power to call in the auditors. All he's done is write to the auditors asking them to investigate. Any Tom, Dick or Harry could have done that.

If anyone is "'dysfunctional and out of control" it's Norman Baker. He was useless at the Dept of Transport and has been no better at the Home Office.

He disgraced himself by not only refusing to keep his pledge to vote against a rise in Tuition Fees, but actually decided to vote FOR a rise instead of abstaining.

Norman Baker needs to put his own house in order before he starts pointing the finger at others.
Let's be clear here...... Norman Baker has NOT "called in the auditors". He doesn't have the power to call in the auditors. All he's done is write to the auditors asking them to investigate. Any Tom, Dick or Harry could have done that. If anyone is "'dysfunctional and out of control" it's Norman Baker. He was useless at the Dept of Transport and has been no better at the Home Office. He disgraced himself by not only refusing to keep his pledge to vote against a rise in Tuition Fees, but actually decided to vote FOR a rise instead of abstaining. Norman Baker needs to put his own house in order before he starts pointing the finger at others. Quiterie
  • Score: 12

2:11pm Mon 20 Jan 14

Plantpot says...

Fight_Back wrote:
This will be the same Norman Baker who supported Lewes District Council in spending tens of thousands of tax payers money in fighting BHA despite a majority of tax payers in Lewes objecting to this spend. This will be the same Norman Baker who supported the forging of photos for a newsletter showing Ditchling Beacon with a view of the new Amex stadium. This will be the same Norman Baker who accused John Prescott of corruption for accepting a free pie from BHA despite his own expenses that he claimed being very dubious. This will be the the same Norman Baker who failed completely to improve rail or road services when Minister of Transport. This will be the same Norman Baker who claimed it was possible to walk from Brighton Station to Sheepcote Valley in a mere 25 minutes.

I hold no view of Seaford Town Council but for our Norm to be pretending that he is some pillar of justice and honesty beggers belief.
LDC won every stage of the planning battle. The only enquiry held to consider the stadium laughed the application out. The stadium failed every test of need. John Prescott flew in the face of the report and gave arbitrary permission for the stadium, but cited a reason that didn't exist. LDC appealed this and won yet again. Only another arbitrary political decision allowed the stadium to go ahead. By this time, the pillar of virtue that is JP had resigned after some very lurid tales of what went on in his office during "working" hours.

During the planning battle, the Lib Dems continued to govern LDC and the leader of the council, hated by Albion fans, increased her majority.

Prescott's entirely arbitrary political decision indicated that no matter how righteous their cause, the anti's were never going to win, even though under planning regulations they would win all day long. That's the issue you ought to be worried about.
[quote][p][bold]Fight_Back[/bold] wrote: This will be the same Norman Baker who supported Lewes District Council in spending tens of thousands of tax payers money in fighting BHA despite a majority of tax payers in Lewes objecting to this spend. This will be the same Norman Baker who supported the forging of photos for a newsletter showing Ditchling Beacon with a view of the new Amex stadium. This will be the same Norman Baker who accused John Prescott of corruption for accepting a free pie from BHA despite his own expenses that he claimed being very dubious. This will be the the same Norman Baker who failed completely to improve rail or road services when Minister of Transport. This will be the same Norman Baker who claimed it was possible to walk from Brighton Station to Sheepcote Valley in a mere 25 minutes. I hold no view of Seaford Town Council but for our Norm to be pretending that he is some pillar of justice and honesty beggers belief.[/p][/quote]LDC won every stage of the planning battle. The only enquiry held to consider the stadium laughed the application out. The stadium failed every test of need. John Prescott flew in the face of the report and gave arbitrary permission for the stadium, but cited a reason that didn't exist. LDC appealed this and won yet again. Only another arbitrary political decision allowed the stadium to go ahead. By this time, the pillar of virtue that is JP had resigned after some very lurid tales of what went on in his office during "working" hours. During the planning battle, the Lib Dems continued to govern LDC and the leader of the council, hated by Albion fans, increased her majority. Prescott's entirely arbitrary political decision indicated that no matter how righteous their cause, the anti's were never going to win, even though under planning regulations they would win all day long. That's the issue you ought to be worried about. Plantpot
  • Score: -1

2:12pm Mon 20 Jan 14

Valentine anne says...

I would like to put you right there was no fighting at the Seaford town council meeting last Thursday, a chap was trying to take photo's and the leader objected so did the town clerk , the police were called (the council meetings are held in the police station building) the chap wasn't arrested and the meeting was abandoned.It is hoped now that Seaford town council will be above board.
I would like to put you right there was no fighting at the Seaford town council meeting last Thursday, a chap was trying to take photo's and the leader objected so did the town clerk , the police were called (the council meetings are held in the police station building) the chap wasn't arrested and the meeting was abandoned.It is hoped now that Seaford town council will be above board. Valentine anne
  • Score: -3

2:21pm Mon 20 Jan 14

Richada says...

Reading this, I'm sure many of we, Brighton & Hove, moanerati feel much better now.

I agree entirely with BobbyVee - party politics should play no part in local government.
Reading this, I'm sure many of we, Brighton & Hove, moanerati feel much better now. I agree entirely with BobbyVee - party politics should play no part in local government. Richada
  • Score: 4

5:44pm Mon 20 Jan 14

John Steed says...

dysfunctional council, not surprising when a tory member, convicted of vat fraud, who is unemployed remains on the council as its his only income, that does not say much for the member concerned in particular, or the tories in general the gentleman concerned should have resigned prior to his conviction for defrauding the public purse. still this timely action by "stormin" norman is a big step in the right direction
dysfunctional council, not surprising when a tory member, convicted of vat fraud, who is unemployed remains on the council as its his only income, that does not say much for the member concerned in particular, or the tories in general the gentleman concerned should have resigned prior to his conviction for defrauding the public purse. still this timely action by "stormin" norman is a big step in the right direction John Steed
  • Score: 0

8:26pm Mon 20 Jan 14

Idontbelieveit1948 says...

Quiterie wrote:
Let's be clear here...... Norman Baker has NOT "called in the auditors". He doesn't have the power to call in the auditors. All he's done is write to the auditors asking them to investigate. Any Tom, Dick or Harry could have done that.

If anyone is "'dysfunctional and out of control" it's Norman Baker. He was useless at the Dept of Transport and has been no better at the Home Office.

He disgraced himself by not only refusing to keep his pledge to vote against a rise in Tuition Fees, but actually decided to vote FOR a rise instead of abstaining.

Norman Baker needs to put his own house in order before he starts pointing the finger at others.
While I agree with all that you say I wonder if there is a lesson here for Brighton & Hove's MPs and our own dysfunctional Green Slime currently masquerading as a the party in charge of our Council.
[quote][p][bold]Quiterie[/bold] wrote: Let's be clear here...... Norman Baker has NOT "called in the auditors". He doesn't have the power to call in the auditors. All he's done is write to the auditors asking them to investigate. Any Tom, Dick or Harry could have done that. If anyone is "'dysfunctional and out of control" it's Norman Baker. He was useless at the Dept of Transport and has been no better at the Home Office. He disgraced himself by not only refusing to keep his pledge to vote against a rise in Tuition Fees, but actually decided to vote FOR a rise instead of abstaining. Norman Baker needs to put his own house in order before he starts pointing the finger at others.[/p][/quote]While I agree with all that you say I wonder if there is a lesson here for Brighton & Hove's MPs and our own dysfunctional Green Slime currently masquerading as a the party in charge of our Council. Idontbelieveit1948
  • Score: 1

8:33am Tue 21 Jan 14

HJarrs says...

Idontbelieveit1948 wrote:
Quiterie wrote:
Let's be clear here...... Norman Baker has NOT "called in the auditors". He doesn't have the power to call in the auditors. All he's done is write to the auditors asking them to investigate. Any Tom, Dick or Harry could have done that.

If anyone is "'dysfunctional and out of control" it's Norman Baker. He was useless at the Dept of Transport and has been no better at the Home Office.

He disgraced himself by not only refusing to keep his pledge to vote against a rise in Tuition Fees, but actually decided to vote FOR a rise instead of abstaining.

Norman Baker needs to put his own house in order before he starts pointing the finger at others.
While I agree with all that you say I wonder if there is a lesson here for Brighton & Hove's MPs and our own dysfunctional Green Slime currently masquerading as a the party in charge of our Council.
Yep there is a lesson. Don't put the Tories in charge of the council as Labour are begging. We always hear of how the Greens are split, you ain't seen nothing yet if you get a Labour Tory administration!
[quote][p][bold]Idontbelieveit1948[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Quiterie[/bold] wrote: Let's be clear here...... Norman Baker has NOT "called in the auditors". He doesn't have the power to call in the auditors. All he's done is write to the auditors asking them to investigate. Any Tom, Dick or Harry could have done that. If anyone is "'dysfunctional and out of control" it's Norman Baker. He was useless at the Dept of Transport and has been no better at the Home Office. He disgraced himself by not only refusing to keep his pledge to vote against a rise in Tuition Fees, but actually decided to vote FOR a rise instead of abstaining. Norman Baker needs to put his own house in order before he starts pointing the finger at others.[/p][/quote]While I agree with all that you say I wonder if there is a lesson here for Brighton & Hove's MPs and our own dysfunctional Green Slime currently masquerading as a the party in charge of our Council.[/p][/quote]Yep there is a lesson. Don't put the Tories in charge of the council as Labour are begging. We always hear of how the Greens are split, you ain't seen nothing yet if you get a Labour Tory administration! HJarrs
  • Score: -4

12:10pm Tue 21 Jan 14

ThinkBrighton says...

Fight_Back wrote:
This will be the same Norman Baker who supported Lewes District Council in spending tens of thousands of tax payers money in fighting BHA despite a majority of tax payers in Lewes objecting to this spend. This will be the same Norman Baker who supported the forging of photos for a newsletter showing Ditchling Beacon with a view of the new Amex stadium. This will be the same Norman Baker who accused John Prescott of corruption for accepting a free pie from BHA despite his own expenses that he claimed being very dubious. This will be the the same Norman Baker who failed completely to improve rail or road services when Minister of Transport. This will be the same Norman Baker who claimed it was possible to walk from Brighton Station to Sheepcote Valley in a mere 25 minutes.

I hold no view of Seaford Town Council but for our Norm to be pretending that he is some pillar of justice and honesty beggers belief.
Was it a typo, did you mean pillock or pillar
[quote][p][bold]Fight_Back[/bold] wrote: This will be the same Norman Baker who supported Lewes District Council in spending tens of thousands of tax payers money in fighting BHA despite a majority of tax payers in Lewes objecting to this spend. This will be the same Norman Baker who supported the forging of photos for a newsletter showing Ditchling Beacon with a view of the new Amex stadium. This will be the same Norman Baker who accused John Prescott of corruption for accepting a free pie from BHA despite his own expenses that he claimed being very dubious. This will be the the same Norman Baker who failed completely to improve rail or road services when Minister of Transport. This will be the same Norman Baker who claimed it was possible to walk from Brighton Station to Sheepcote Valley in a mere 25 minutes. I hold no view of Seaford Town Council but for our Norm to be pretending that he is some pillar of justice and honesty beggers belief.[/p][/quote]Was it a typo, did you mean pillock or pillar ThinkBrighton
  • Score: 0

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