Accountability? Councillor Thomas parks residents’ questions

Our loyal reader has forwarded to us some email correspondence which, again, demonstrates that our elected council officials believe themselves to be entirely unaccountable to the people of Croydon. Or, despite the generous allowances that they receive, just can’t be bothered to answer perfectly reasonable questions about their role in the management of the borough.

In this case, it is the senior Croydon Conservative, Councillor Phil “Two Permits” Thomas who demonstrates how he has been able to reach new lows – of condescension, of how to be patronising, of laziness and of outright ignorance.

We have mentioned before Thomas’s contemptuous attitude towards the people who pay for his generous allowances, and his bullying approach to anyone at public council meetings who dare ask a question of his handling of matters. Thomas too easily loses his temper and resorts to calling in the police if someone wants to express an opinion at variance to Croydon’s head of environmental matters.

Now, we have another example of his impatience and disregard for his public position, in a short-tempered email exchange over the sky-high car parking charges in Croydon, which many local businesses are blaming for deterring potential visitors from the town centre.

For his own self, Thomas does not have to worry too much about paying the outrageous rates of parking charges in central Croydon. After all, as a perk of his role as a member of Croydon Council’s policy-forming cabinet, as well as around £45,000 per year in “allowances”, Thomas also receives two free permits for the council’s car parks: one for him, and one for his missus’ car. Only to be used, of course, strictly on council business.

Thomas has worked in the past as a senior member of staff at a large south London school. Below, we reproduce unamended and uncorrected his ultimate response to an email question from one local resident who had approached him, supposed a public servant, for their help and their views on the council’s car park policies:

From: JTh6767518@aol.com [mailto:JTh6767518@aol.com]
Sent: 08 February 2012 20:42
Subject: Re: Croydon town centre car parks

Unfortunately, i do not wish to get involved in your Twitter debates ?

Buying and selling car parks is not my area of responsibility and i have no idea about the business interests of NCP, so i am unable to comment.

I understand that Cllr Tony Newman is a user of Twitter, so may i suggest you ask him question 4 ?

PHIL THOMAS

This response came after the local resident had raised these four, very reasonable questions:

1. Has the Council bought back the Fairfield car park? If so, what was the price?
2. Will the Council be able to buy back the other car parks sold to NCP when the break clauses in the contracts come into play?
3. Some people say NCP are having revenue problems and might be interested in selling back.
4. Why didn’t the contracts with NCP impose tighter conditions allowing the Council some control on policy and pricing issues? Who provided legal advice to the Council on these contracts? (I realise this was during Labour’s time).

Phil Thomas: yet again shows his contempt for accountability to the people who pay his allowances

The resident also put a fifth question to the senior council figure: “I wonder if you can answer some of these questions or refer me to where I can get answers?”

Thomas had responded briefly to a couple of earlier emails, including this: “Could i suggest you write to the local newspapers raising your concerns about NCP. Every letter helps”.

Well, the resident has now raised the matter with a local website, Inside Croydon, and we are raising the matter with our readers.

  • Inside Croydon: brought to you from the heart of the borough, free of charge, an independent voice standing for freedom of speech for the people of Croydon

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Business, Centrale, Commuting, Croydon Central, Croydon Council, East Croydon, Environment, Fairfield Halls, Parking, Phil Thomas, Whitgift Centre and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Accountability? Councillor Thomas parks residents’ questions

  1. patriciadennis1 says:

    I am not sure why anyone would want to ask Phil Thomas about the NCP car parks. The Council does not own them, nor have they bought any of them back. The previous Labour Council sold them because they had overspent. After that the car park charges went right up. I don’t think the reply was at all rude. What was he supposed to say? He deserves what he earns. He works incredibly hard, and I would say is available 24/7. He is the best Councillor we have ever had. Whatever problems we have, he deals with them straight away. Wonderfully helpful man. I know loads of people who agree with me.

    Like

    • We think that the above comment might be an elaborate attempt at satire.

      If not, maybe Inside Croydon‘s loyal reader could put the claim that Two Permits is available, 24/7, to the test.

      Phil Thomas’s email address is: JTh6767518@aol.com

      Do let us know how you get along.

      Like

      • patriciadennis1 says:

        All councillors have a parking pass to use when out on Council business. You can have up to 2 passes – one on each car. He has two cars. He only uses the pass when he goes to Council meetings. His wife never uses it.

        Like

        • As ever, Anne Giles, your comment is almost laughable in its inaccuracies, and with the certainty with which you state things which are simply not the case.

          We reported on the number of car park passes issued to Croydon councillors a year ago.

          You are wrong when you state that all councillors have a car parking pass: some have opted to decline the car park pass.

          You state that “he” – meaning senior council cabinet member Phil “Two Passes” Thomas – has two passes because he has two cars.

          We realise that you sometimes struggle to find your way out of your own vehicle, and require the assistance of the local Fire Brigade simple because you are incapable of operating a car locking system.

          Therefore, you may not be the best person to ask: but do you know anyone who is capable of driving two cars simultaneously? We certainly do not, and therefore we would submit that to provide councillors with more than one car park pass is entirely superfluous.

          The car park pass is a councillor’s benefit that is open to abuse.

          Using a councillor’s car park pass when not on council business could be a type of fraud, we would suggest. A benefit fraud. Is anyone keeping a check on this, along with other benefit frauds committed in Croydon? Or is it another case of one rule for some, and another set of values applied to our elected “representatives”?

          Again, you assert that “He”, meaning Phil “Two Permits” Thomas, “only uses the pass when he goes to Council meetings”. Can you prove this? Who is keeping a check on the use and possible abuse of such passes?

          Further, you state, “His wife never uses it”. How do you know this? And if his wife never uses the secondary pass, why does he bother to claim the second pass?

          Like

    • We have strong reasons to believe that “Patricia Dennis” is in fact Anne Giles.

      This site has a strong policy about people who publish anonymously, or seek to use a false identity.

      You can draw your own conclusions about the reliability of the comments made by this person.

      Like

      • Arfur Towcrate says:

        I love Anne Giles, living in Shangri-La (aka Selsdon) where the police are wonderful, just like on Heartbeat. If the Tories, in a fit of pique, napalmed central Croydon, she’d still be singing their praises.

        Like

  2. Arfur Towcrate says:

    I believe Croydon adopted The Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) Order 2007, which amongst other things, imposes these “General obligations” upon our dear Phil (who once stood on my doorstep and invited me to voo-ort cun-soer-vvhativ)

    3.—(1) You must treat others with respect.

    (2) You must not—

    (a) do anything which may cause your authority to breach any of the equality enactments (as defined in section 33 of the Equality Act 2006(2));

    (b) bully any person;

    5. You must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or authority into disrepute.

    Like

  3. Jamie R says:

    That is galling arrogance. Elected representative eh? This man clearly could not care less what Croydon residents think of him. Well, for the record, Mr Thomas, we think you’re a disgrace.

    Like

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