E-mail from Graeme Hicks

I am a County Councillor from Cornwall. I have great concerns about the Modus Operandi of the County Council. I also have decided to put up an internet site.

www.cllrghicks.net

I have now had time to read the contents of your site which I have found extremely interesting and worrying. It could have been written by me. We clearly have a similar problem in Cornwall.

Officers have usurped the role of elected members and are unconstitutionally making the decisions. This is an affront to democracy and cannot be accepted by any democrat. As you quite rightly point out on your webpages, elected members, with balanced advice from professional officers determine policy and it is then the role of officers to execute those policies.

It cannot be acceptable that officers ignore council policy and a lawful duty imposed by the 1980 Highways Act on such a widespread basis.

Although I have forced both an internal audit and external audit and the situation has now been corrected, but only in so far as development control is concerned. I have found it impossible to hold the people responsible for this serious situation to account. Many of the elected members are in the pockets of the senior officers so that any motion calling for an independent investigation is doomed to failure. I am at present pursuing judicial review proceedings in the hope that I can force such an investigation.

My problem is made worse as the officer who I believe may be responsible for the problem was the County Surveyor at the time, who since has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer. This explains why I have found it impossible to gain answers to questions which have a direct effect on the people I represent. Over the past two years I have been faced with an impenetrable wall of evasion and obfuscation from a number of senior officers. I firmly believe that there is substantial evidence to suggest that they may have colluded to prevent me finding out who is responsible.

I am at present investigating a Gypsy Site which is in the stewardship of Cornwall County Council. Evidently planning permission was given for 30 pitches. There are now 48 pitches. The authority appears to have knowingly been breaking Health and Safety Legislation for a number of years. You certainly don't have to look very far to find things wrong. All this from an authority that has gained an "excellent" status in the recent CPA inspection.

I also believe you have hit the nail on the head when you draw my attention to Freemasons, I totally agree that they are central to the problem.

Yours sincerely

Graeme Hicks.

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