Public pressure, or even a degree of shame, does seem to have some effect on the benighted managers at Conservative-controlled Croydon Council.
Last month, our loyal reader will recall, Inside Croydon exposed how the council had given first dibs on potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of public assets to the borough’s councillors, allowing them to have their pick of the unwanted furniture from Taberner House, as they migrate staff into Mike Fisher’s Folly, the £140 million glass palace that is to be their new headquarters, which is being equipped with £3million-worth of new furnishings.
Not only was this a cushty tax-free benefit in kind for councillors, some of whom already pocket more than £50,000 per year in public cash as “allowances”, but it also had the potential for being abused, through dispensing “gifts” to garner public approval and a few votes, in marginal wards ahead of next May’s Town Hall elections.
Why, we asked, did the council not in the first place simply offer the furniture directly to the borough’s community groups, charities and schools?
Well, now the council has taken the hint.
Trouble is, they have given the borough’s community groups just a couple of weeks to put in bids, right in the middle of the holiday season, and while the schools are on their long summer break.
Nearly a month after councillors were given the pick of the public property, the Ministry of UnTruth issued this press release:
“Are you a charity, school or not-for-profit organisation in need of office furniture?
“If so, there may be items suitable when the council moves out of Taberner House during September and October.
“To ensure as many pieces as possible can be reused, the council is urging groups to come forward and make a claim for the type of items they are interested in.
“The furniture, which is provided free-of-charge, must be used within the borough and not be re-sold.
“Any pieces that are not suitable for reuse will be recycled.
“If your organisation is interested, visit http://www.croydon.gov.uk/furniture and complete the online request form by Friday, 23 August.
“An inventory and a full list of terms and conditions can also be viewed online.
“Once the deadline has passed, the council will contact organisations to let them know if their request has been successful.
“Councillor Sara Bashford, cabinet member for corporate and voluntary services, said: ‘We want to make sure that all the furniture in Taberner House can be reused, and if it can’t, that it is recycled.
“’This is a great opportunity for charities and schools to pick up furniture free-of-charge, and we urge them to come forward to make their claim’.”
Just a shame that it took Tory cabinet member “Book Token” Bashford and her self-serving mates who run Croydon Council so long to get around to doing the decent thing, leaving the charities and community groups to pick through the dregs of furnishings that have been left, unwanted, by the councillors.
- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough – 262,183 page views (Jan-Jun 2013)
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