Richard Upton, Deputy CEO of Friarsgate developer U+I Group, has confirmed that he will be taking up the post of Leader of the Council effective from 1 August 2017. Mr Upton said:
‘I am delighted to accept my generous demand of the Council and I’m looking forward to taking up my new post on 1 August. I will be continuing in my role as Deputy CEO of U+I as I understand that the position of Leader traditionally entails the expenditure of very little time, talent or effort.’
Outgoing Leader Cllr Mike Wiltcox commented:
‘I am delighted that Richard has decided to accept his offer to sack me as Leader, although I will continue to fulfill my role as Conservative councillor for Fradley as this also entails the expenditure of very little time, talent or effort.’
Richard Dicking, Lichfield’s strategic director of democratic, development and legal added:
‘Mr Upton has appointed the best man for the job. This will complete U+I’s takeover of all Council business and ensure the smooth running of the Cabinet and all Committees. We will no longer have to waste time submitting Council meeting Agendas to U+I’s “Commercial Sensitivity and Financial Viability Committee” for prior approval. Richard Upton will exercise delegated powers from U+I to control all aspects of Lichfield business.’
There has been increasing disquiet at the number of occasions where the public has been excluded from parts of Council meetings on the grounds of “commercial sensitivity”. Commentators have been left wondering what can possibly be commercially sensitive about Council car parking charges or the location of the Tourist Information office.
Mr Upton said:
‘I can’t comment on individual agenda items that have been discussed in secret, other than to say that they related to commercially sensitive matters for U+I that could affect the financial viability of U+I.
‘However I will be addressing these concerns directly as soon as I take office.
‘In future there will be no prior publication of Agendas or briefing notes, all Council meetings will be held in secret and no minutes will be kept. Now fuck off out of my office.’
LibDem Cllr Paul Ray welcomed the announcement, he said:
‘If all Council business is conducted in camera, as we lawyers like to say, that’ll give me the perfect excuse not to attend any meetings. No change there then at least.’
Five Spires Live has not bothered to contact anyone for comment.
Following the recent resignation of Marion Bland as local district councillor, Paul Ray of Chadsmead Liberal Democrats has declared his intention to stand in the forthcoming by-elections to Lichfield District and Lichfield City Councils.
As a banking lawyer with Midland law firm Browne Jacobson, Mr Ray has successfully blended two of the most derided professions into one career. A serial electoral loser Mr Ray commented:
‘I have worked closely with Marion, helping and advising her for many years – I’m pleased to say that she eventually took the hint and resigned. For the record I’d like to praise Marion for all the hard work that she has put in over the years and to personally thank her for keeping the seat warm – a job she is admirably equipped to do.’
Tributes have poured in from across the political spectrum. Labour group leader Sue Norman said:
‘I’d like to thank Marion for her valuable contributions to Council meetings. Yes, I’d like to, but..’
A local authority officer commented:
‘Marion can be quite a formidable lady, especially when drinking pints and wearing lederhosen.’
Mrs Bland spoke of her resignation, she said:
‘I’m resigned to the piss poor prospects for the LibDems nationally and locally, it makes me sick so I’m off. In the circumstances Paul Ray is the ideal candidate to enhance my reputation, folks will look back and say, you know she wasn’t that bad in comparison.
‘Paul upholds many traditional LibDem values, particularly the ability to lose elections. He lost to me in 2012 and again 2015 when he simultaneously lost the Parliamentary election, quite a track record even for a LibDem.’
Paul Ray has never lived in Chadsmead for over 14 years, he is married with children. Paul’s wife Xena Ray is his strongest supporter, she commented:
‘This is great news for Poor, I’m pleased Marion eventually saw sense. His work out in the badlands takes him away most evenings and weekends, we hardly ever see him – it’s great. He hasn’t even realised that we’ve moved out yet.’