I am disappointed in Malcolm Pate, the new leader of Shropshire Council. When he replaced Keith Barrow, he promised greater openness and a more democratic council.
Today, he has reverted to 100% Barrow mode. He is striding on with the old fashioned and often dictatorial ways of working that defined Barrow’s regime.
At this very moment, a press conference is taking place in Shirehall. Malcolm Pate and his colleagues are briefing the press on next year’s budget. This is one of the most critical budgets since Shropshire Council was established as a unitary authority in 2009.
Some people in Shropshire Council know what is in this document right now. But they belong to a select list of officers, cabinet members and the favoured few. Shropshire’s elected councillors as a whole have been refused permission to see the papers until 2.45pm. That is exactly the same time as the media are allowed to see the papers.
I am furious that councillors are not allowed to see these papers before the press. It is the sort of disrespect that Keith Barrow showed to elected councillors day by day. All about manipulating the message not explaining the reality.
This is a bad start for Malcolm Pate. He should have circulated this paper to councillors on a confidential basis the moment it was competed. This secretive way of working has to end if we are going to work together as a council in very tough times.