The independent campaign group The TaxPayers’ Alliance, has accused the leader of Croydon Council of giving the impression that he has something to hide and they say that his attitude to public questions suggest that he is “part of the entitlement culture”.
The lobby group was responding to a written non-answer grudgingly given by Mike Fisher, the Conservative councillor for Shirley, to a question from a member of the public at the last Town Hall questions session of the year. Croydon’s council leader was asked to detail the time he spends in his office and attending committee and other council meetings.
Fisher was unable or unwilling to provide a detailed breakdown of his official engagements or time spent in his expensively maintained office at the Town Hall, fobbing off the question in a high-handed manner, saying that he is not an employee of the council.
The Taxpayers’ Alliance found Fisher’s attitude entirely unacceptable for an elected representative. “Councillors should tell their constituents what their typical week looks like – how many calls they have to deal with; emails they receive; meetings they attend,” said Andrew Allison, the TPA’s national grassroots co-ordinator.
“If the voters see what they get from their elected representatives they can judge if they are getting value for money,” Allison said.
“The hours worked by cabinet members varies from council to council, and their allowances reflect this. For example, portfolio holders in unitary authorities and London boroughs will work many more hours than those in smaller authorities, such as district councils.
“Anyone who point-blank refuses to answer a simple question like the one you asked the council leader is hardly endearing themselves to their electorate.
“They appear to be part of an entitlement culture, and also give the impression they have something to hide,” said The Taxpayers’ Alliance spokesman.
As Fisher has denied Council Tax-payers any information about the time he spends on official council business, Inside Croydon has conducted a simple survey of our own, by calling his office at random times.
Since beginning our survey last Thursday, Council Leader Fisher has never been in his office once.
- We called at 9.20am on December 13: no answer.
- We called at 9.20am on December 14: no answer.
- We called again at 10.50am – just an hour and a half later – on December 14: someone calling himself “Trevor” answered the phone. Mike Fisher was not in the office. “He was in earlier for a meeting. He’s now left for the day.”
- We called at 9.15am on December 17: no answer.
- We called again at 10.40am on December 17: no answer.
- We called once more at 12.50pm on December 17: this time, we got to speak to Trevor again. “Mr Fisher has rung in unwell,” Trevor told us. “He missed the carol concert at the Minster last night as well.” Trevor didn’t know when Fisher might next be in the office, but he said he was dealing with emails.
Just what does Mike Fisher have to hide?
Perhaps Inside Croydon‘s loyal reader can ask him directly: Fisher’s office number is 020 8760 5770. Do let us know if he’s in the office when you call.
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