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Councillor J. Vincent Waters accused of Bullying Print E-mail

Published 8th January 2015

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Cllr J. Vincent Waters

 

Vincent Waters has been accused by a very experienced and dedicated community councillor of over 20 years public service, of bullying and victimising Thornliebank Community Council for several months.

In addition Vincent’s partner Lisa Paton has been accused of interfering with Thornliebank Community Council and attempting to have them breach the community council’s constitution.

This all came to a head on Tuesday evening (6/1/15) at Thorntree Hall, Thornliebank.

Vincent Waters and Lisa Paton

Vincent Waters is one of three elected members who represent Thornliebank and Giffnock. He can therefore attend community council meetings as an Ex Officio member, (GCC and TCC).

There would appear to be a number of questions surrounding Vincent's interaction with TCC where it is alleged that he has attempted to bully the community councillors and influence their decisions, which are wholly out with his remit as an ex officio member.

(An ex officio member is exactly the same as a member of the public, a visitor with no right to speak unless invited by the chair to do so, and has no voting rights)

A community council meeting is a meeting of community councillors, for the benefit of community councillors, elected members are expected to attend and hear and listen tom the views of the public as narrated by the Ccllrs .

Vincent had a member of Council staff prepare and type this letter which was emailed out at 5pm on Tuesday to all TCC Cllrs, when Vincent would have been well aware that the meeting was being held at 7.15pm that evening.

http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/34066-councillor-j-vincent-waters-accused-of-bullying

How many Ccllrs would have read their e mail at that late stage.

However one Ccllr (Not the secretary) was strangely in a position to be in attendance with 10 copies of the letter for all present at 7.15pm.

One minute at the meeting for the Ccllrs to digest the content of this rather aggressive and threatening letter, with many details and accusations, and then to discuss same?

However Vincent was strangely absent, he was observed standing outside the venue at 7.10pm and observed leaving arm in arm with his partner at 9.30pm at the conclusion of the meeting, but he failed to attend the CC meeting.

Despite Vincent being previously advised that this particular Community Council wished the constitution to be complied with in respect of correspondence being sent only to the secretary, Vincent yet again disobeyed their instructions and sent this to every member and not through the secretary.

At the meeting a long standing and very respected member of the community council said "I think the problem is clear that Vincent Waters has been bullying this community council for a number of months and this is part of his bullying campaign.

What was it that Vincent wanted to allegedly Suppress in these minutes, and why, and what about Lisa's involvement ...More follows.......

WITH regards to Vincent complaining that he wanted to use his i pad at GCC meetings, contrary to the instructions of the chair, the minute secretary read an extract from the minutes of Giffnock Community Council's meeting of April 2014.

http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/34066-councillor-j-vincent-waters-accused-of-bullying?limit=6&start=6#34078

It was highlighted that Vincent was present when the statement was read out and made no objection, yet he happy to comply with the GCC ruling, but not the same ruling at TCC, which was described as discriminating against TCC.

Discussion ensued regarding the use of i pads at CC meetings and the chair of a neighbouring CC who was in attendance was asked if his CC had a policy regarding the use of electronic equipment.

The chair stated that his CC does not permit the use of electronic equipment and went on to list the reasons.

Not only are these devices able to access the internet, they are video cameras, still cameras, voice recorders and have the capability of sending text messages, which could be sent to another person at the meeting and they could between them place undue influence on the CC by colluding etc.

In addition he personally found someone using a device during a meeting to be a massive distraction.

What must also come into focus is that an elected member playing with an i pad is not concentrating on what is being said by Cclrs, and that is the reason / purpose for their attendance.

We would suggest that to do so is disrespectful to the Community Council and to refuse to comply with a chairs ruling could be construed as a Breach of the Councillors Code of Conduct.

In Vincents letter he says.

 

East Renfrewshire Councils Scheme for Community Councils states:-

21. The Chairperson shall rule on all matters of order, relevancy and competency arising at meetings of the community council.

The Chairperson

The Chairperson has the most important single role to play in ensuring that community council meetings run smoothly.

The Chairperson’s job is to preside over all meetings of the community council.

In practice, this usually means that the Chairperson will have to make judgements about how much time to allocate to each Agenda item. It also means that he or she may occasionally have to bring speakers back to the Agenda and generally encourage people to make their contributions brief and to the point.

All speakers will be expected to address their comments to the Chair: this helps the Chairperson to keep control of the discussion.

Perhaps most importantly of all, the Chairperson is expected to know the rules by which the community council functions, and ensure that in all stages of its work, the community council is operating in accordance with procedures. In this context the Chairperson may be called upon to act as an arbiter when there is a disagreement about how the rules should be interpreted.

It would appear to us that Vincent has invented the words 'Valid' and 'Legal' as these do not appear in the Scheme for CC's.

Surely if a chair states that she finds the use of an i pad a distraction and request's the user to put it away, that is a valid instruction and must be complied with, especially if the person concerned is an ex - officio member ie. a visitor.

No i pads of mobile telephones are permitted or used within the Council Chamber by Councillors at Eastwood Park.

The Councillors Code of Conduct states :-

Respect

You must respect all other councillors and all Council employees and the role they play, treating them with courtesy at all times. Similarly you must respect members of the public when performing duties as a Councillor.

 

2.2 You should apply the principles of this Code to Conduct at Meetings

 

3.2 You must respect the chair, your colleagues, Council employees and any members of the public present during meetings of the Council, its Committees or Sub-Committees or of any Public Bodies where you have been appointed by, and represent the Council. You must comply with rulings from the chair in the conduct of the business of these meetings.

Not a single councillor has been issued with an i pad by East Renfrewhire Council, so this piece of kit is a personal toy of Vincent's.

NEWSLINE understands that the minute taker has stood by his minutes, in his opinion they are a true record of the meeting and he has no intention of removing anything.

In addition Vincent in his letter wishes approved and published minutes which relate to November removed from the council web site and altered.

He was at the December meeting when these minutes were discussed and approved, he made no objection at that time, why is he now wishing something altered.

This is not the first time that Vincent has attempted to interfere with the conduct of the Thornliebank CC meeting, we will cover these later.

Meanwhile we will move on to cover Lisa Paton's involvement over the same minutes.


 

More follows......

 
Where are all our Police Officers? Print E-mail

Published 6th January 2015

Strathclyde Police trumpeted Community Policing and this was billed as being continued and extended with the establishment of Police Scotland.

East ward area of East Renfrewshire had designated officers, who would walk the beat or on occasions ride a pedal cycle, sometimes supplied by community finances.

These officers would get to know the community and the community would get to know them. Information would flow and the bad people identified and dealt with by the 'local' police officer.

These officers would also attend local community group meetings and community council meetings.

Nothing like a Bobby on the beat to raise moral and feed information to, and an officer who knew who his local Neds were.

WHEN has anyone in East Renfrewshire last seen an officer on the beat, or indeed riding a bike.

It would appear that these bikes are rusting away in a garage somewhere and all of the 'Community Policing Officers' are in cars / vans.

Local officers with local knowledge would appear to have now been lost.

Is it any wonder that East Renfrewshire has the lowest detection rate in the whole of Scotland, and not for the first time.

THE Police Scotland web site proudly displays details of the local community policing teams.

This is an example from the web site:-

Renfrew

Policing Team

Sergeants: Kenneth Price, James Kyle

Constables: Steven Bain, Craig Fraser, Graeme Smith, Guy Jenner, Brian Kelly, Aileen Queen, James McCrudden, Jonathan Foster, Stuart McInnes, Ronald Watson

YET when we look at the entries for East Renfrewshire there is a different picture,

In respect of every ward area there is the following message,

Policing Team

Officer details will be published shortly.

Unfortunately this message has been up for around six months.

Minutes of East Renfrewshire Community Council meetings almost always showed that one if not two Community police constables were in attendance.

Over the past many months we can see that there is either a non attendance or the attendee is the on duty Sergeant, not the local community policing officer.

The very lastest minutes on display indicate the following attendee at CC meetings,

Barrhead Sgt Devine

Busby Sgt Devine

Clarkston PC McLean

Eaglesham No Police

Giffnock No Police

Neilston No Police

N & S Sgt Devine

Newton Mearns Sgt

Thornliebank PC De Verne

Uplawmoor No Police

OUR understanding is that Community Policing Officers who are based at Giffnock are being used on a daily basis to augment the response officers who are based at Barrhead.

Community Officers are provided with vehicles and are required to undertake 'Diary Calls'.

These are calls that the public make requesting assistance (considered non urgent) and in order to reduce the pressure on the response teams, the caller is given a future time and date when officers will call to take the complaint.

This then falls on the 'diary call' team (Community Officers) to call in a few days time as agreed with the Police Control Room and the member of the public.

So where are our officers and why has this not been publicised that we no longer have community officers patrolling our areas, or perhaps they are still there and we have got this wrong.

WE have submitted an FOI to Police Scotland requesting the identity of the Community Officers currently deployed in East Renfrewshire and will publish the response.

 
Freebies for Councillors ? Print E-mail

Published 28th December 2014

IN June 2013 East Renfrewshire Council established a Civic Hospitality Committee
with the Membership comprising
Provost Alastair Carmichael (Chair)

Councillor Betty Cunningham 
Councillor Danny Devlin
Councillor Charlie Gilbert
Councillor Barbara Grant
Councillor Mary Montague

This committee was provided with an annual budget of £22,000.

 

WE have only commenced to inspect the minutes of these meetings and will report in due course any findings.

Initially our attraction was drawn to an item where the chair Provost Alastair Carmichael stated that he wished to take a table at the Kilbride Hospice Autumn Ball on Friday, 24 October 2014

The minutes reflect a projected cost of £600.

However what is interesting is that this was the cost for a table to accommodate 10 and that the cost would cover the meal and wine, with the invitees being elected members and their partners.

We are led to believe that the elected members who benefited from this included at least two members of the Hospitality Committee, Provost Carmichael and Cllr Montague.

NEWSLINE has submitted an FOI request in order to ascertain who exactly was in attendance from ERC and benefited from this at public expense.

 
True cost of ERC's legal bill exposed Print E-mail

Published 22nd December 2014

NEWSLINE has obtained information that indicates that East Renfrewshire Council has increased its spend year on year to pay for external legal advice over the last three years despite employing 10 solicitors full time who work at council headquarters.

Through use of Freedom of Information requests we have learnt that over the past three years the ERC spend on external solicitors amounted to.

2012 £61,170.08
2013 £145,653.53
2014 £297,172.81

Yet in a comparable authority (North Ayrshire Council) their spend was going down year on year.

2012 £81,460
2013 £68,636
2014 £10,270

Over the past three years North Ayrshire Council spent a total of

£160,366.00

on external solicitors for advice.

Whilst East Renfrewshire Council spent a total of

£505,996.34

over the same period.

 
571 on the SEX offenders register in the Greater Glasgow area Print E-mail

Published 18th December 2014

Due to a recent case of an offender being housed in Barrhead by the council, NEWSLINE decided to make enquiries with Police Scotland regarding the true extent of the issue, namely how many known offenders are living in our area.

NEWSLINE discovered that the East Renfrewshire local authority area is covered by Greater Glasgow (G) Division of Police Scotland. Within G Division there is an Offender Management Unit which presently consists of 29 officers dedicated to managing offenders who are subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

This information was obtained via FOI.

This equates to approximately one police officer for every 20 registered offenders. If and when the officers leave the office they work in pairs, so that will increase the monitoring number to 40 per team.

Officers work an eight hour day and that then brings into question how much time they can devote to each offender. Certainly no surveillance, as these offender management officers are not trained in that art and that takes a team of at least 12 to undertake surveillance.

What monitoring of these offenders can in reality be undertaken by this team ?

Tom Taylor, Chair of NHW was asked for his comments and he said "One police officer dedicated to every twenty registered offenders in East Renfrewshire might sound a lot but it is not. They cannot possibly provide any positive monitoring of offenders.

Much more has to be done and whilst I would not wish to demonise offenders, they have to be differentiated from other criminals, it is estimated that around 25% go on to re-offend.

The bad news is that sexual predators live in most communities without our knowledge and that needs to change.

Electronic monitoring should be used at all times, and a national s-ex offender registry created that provides a single Web site where residents can find information about registered s-ex offenders.

Offenders seek trusted positions in the community which put them in contact with children, the public are the eyes and ears for the police and they require to know who these people are.

In addition every police officer in East Renfrewshire should be fully aware of every offender resident in their area, name, address, photograph etc.

Live in the community, be part of the community but do not think about re offending?

 
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