Plundering of Knowle assets by councillors? Best value?

It appears that councillors and officers have been given first dibs of Knowle assets, in advance of the move to Honiton and one of them has rather jumped the gun on claiming his prize.

Is this best value or equitable, Owl ponders? As does at least one independent councillor.

Note: Neither of these emails were marked private and/or confidential when acquired by Owl.

From a well-known Conservative councillor:

Subject: Re; Large Table In Members Area

Dear Members and SMT,

Subject: Re; Large Table In Members Area

You will all be aware there has been an auction of council furniture, chattels etc of which I bid for a few bits and pieces.

I bid on behalf of my partner for the very large table in the members area along with the 20 green chairs that we all sit around.

I have been told that I have been successful in my bid so the table along with the 8’ extension is heading back to Exmouth to sit in (address of councillor), Exmouth in its rightful Town (some may say).

The relevance of my informing yourselves is that the rightful date of removal is end of January/ beginning of February when we finally ‘pull out of the Knowle.

I would apologise for the short notice but we have 22 family members to Christmas dinner and would like to pick the table up tomorrow as it appears it is the last day of our offices being open, which of course would mean I couldn’t collect it on Monday, 24th, as we will be closed.

We do have one or two meetings between the New Year and our final pull out but I feel it only right to ask members if indeed anybody felt offended if it was collected tomorrow on our last day.

I will fully respect any position any member may feel regarding it being removed earlier and would kindly request your thoughts.

If indeed it were removed earlier I have spoken to Simon Allchurch who feels we could put a few of the red tables on wheels in the place of the table and there is an array of chairs to use for members in the interim so it doesn’t look bare.

I must again apologise for the short notice but with the closing date being the 19th and all that goes with it at this time of year I would like to think you may grant me a little latitude (or not).

Best wishes and a Happy Xmas to one and all.”

And here is the response from an Independent councillor

“I feel I must reiterate my comment from when this started. Who authorised the ‘private sale’ of Council property to staff and members? Why are we not duty-bound to seek the best price at public auction? No-one answered my questions.

Will we ever know the proceeds of this internal sale for the public record?”

I strongly suspect that members of the public would be shocked to know that councillors have been able to buy items in this way. It is somehow appropriate that 22 family members will sit down to feast at this table, assuming the removal goes ahead.”

5 thoughts on “Plundering of Knowle assets by councillors? Best value?

  1. A concerned and principled Councillor asked who was the individual responsible for the decision to dispose of community assets in this way. Why was that question not answered?
    The person who authorised this private sale MUST be held to account.
    At some point in the past, East Devon tax-payers money would have been used to purchase those items.
    A public auction would have been the only open and honest way to achieve the fairest outcome and the highest price for them.
    Ah , there we have it! Open? Honest? EDDC? Yet again, these actions are despicable and arrogant but no longer surprising.
    What must residents do to hear the answer to those questions?
    Who did authorise the private sale?
    Where can we see a printed copy of EDDC policy on this matter?
    Has that policy been adhered to?
    Where can we access the list of all items purchased at this private auction and the prices achieved?

    P.S Is it possible the items have woodworm?
    Imagine which rears have occupied those chairs so frequently!

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  2. First they knowingly undersell one of our prized assets, an historic public building and the best of a public park , then they grubbily offer the loot in the historic house to themselves. Contemptible.

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  3. I’d like to say this is shocking, but it’s not. Apart from being inappropriate and possibly in breach of legal obligations not to obtain best value, it’s hardly a competitive auction if he was notified after the event. Simon Allchurch is a rather senior officer to be consulted on moving furniture. Known to me for an interesting report on Warren View plus a breach of security there when property was being collected. I trust all officer time used planning for and moving alternative furniture will be reimbursed at cost. Perhaps the beneficiaries of all these items should have them professionally valued and donate the difference to local charities to benefit the victims of their party’s austerity policies.

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  4. yes indeed why should the councillors get ‘preferential treatment’ – first dibs’ of what are public owned objects- perhaps we would all like to have one of those green chairs, Looks like we will not even get a look in!!!!

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