Babergh District Council (5) Tuesday 14th June 2011

The minutes of a meeting of the Babergh District Council Overview & Scrutiny (Stewardship) Committee held in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, Corks Lane, Hadleigh on 14th June record:

It was resolved that Mr B Riley be elected vice-chairman of the committee for the ensuing year. 

This is a step on the greasy staircase- the important thing is to remember that I am elected to represent the people not to be led by the
Council Officers.

Do I need to change the corporate motto to “Memento Mori” or perhaps “Respice post te! Hominem te memento!”

In ancient Rome, the words “Memento Mori” are believed to have been used on the occasions when a Roman general was parading through the streets during a victory triumph. Standing behind the victorious general was his slave, who was tasked to remind the general that, though his highness was at his peak today, tomorrow he could fall or be more likely brought down. The servant conveyed this by telling the  general that he should remember, “Memento mori.” It is further possible that the servant said instead, “Respice post te! Hominem te memento!”: “Look behind you! Remember that you are but a man!”, as noted by Tertullian in his Apologeticus.

Sitting at the top table let me get a few matters on the list for future review. The two main ones are:

  • The Housing Panel is to be requested to investigate as to whether the targets are stretching and need to be revised. –
    We are targeting to deliver 100 houses a year against a waiting list of 1700 people for social housing. Even if the waiting list is overstated by 100% it will take us more than eight years to clear it (assuming no future additions to the list).
  • Procurement Card – Director of Finance is to investigate with Audit as to what checks and balances are in place for its use.

The latter arose from the use (and possible mis-use) of credit cards in Suffolk County Council. Babergh seemed quite pleased that they didn’t use credit cards – instead we discovered that they use procurement cards which were settled upon receipt of statement – so not involving any “credit”.  It really is the case of having to learn a different way of thinking.

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