Islanders Start No-Confidence Petition

Council Chief Executive, Philip Hygate

Islanders who feel unhappy about the way in which the Council in Scilly operates are demanding that the Chief Executive, Philip Hygate, is suspended.

So far a handful of locals have actually signed the petition of no-confidence inside Sports Mode but the Councillors are holding a special meeting to discuss the implication of it.

Organisers of the list, which is separate from the citizen action group HEART, say they want to collect 200 signatures to secure a Council debate on their contention.

A spokeswoman says organisers don’t want to be named directly but say they have signed the form.

The form cites discontent with chief officers’ pay, the purchase of a former garden and decor store and the amount of annual leave and time off in lieu accrued by some senior staff.

The petition makes a series of additional allegations relating to Council activities. There’s no target completion date.

Director of Finance, Peter Lawrence-Roberts, says Members will consider the petition at a meeting on Monday at 2pm. It will be held in closed session since it will involve the discussion of individuals.

It’s not the first time senior Council staff have been subject to a petition. The chief officers’ pay rises produced dozens of signatures two years ago.


27 Responses to Islanders Start No-Confidence Petition

  1. Todd Stevens July 14, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Spot on!! I’m thoroughly bored with it too. Thats the most sense I’ve seen or read in a long time. Time to go out on my boat and leave local ills to a local doctor to cure.

  2. Just a local July 14, 2012 at 12:01 am

    Please Tod, stop now, you’re boring me and everyone else. Soon you will see or hear the real truth. Your witch hunt is childish, and everyone knows you have a personal gripe !!!!! Go to work and stop creating problems and worries .

  3. Todd Stevens July 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Patrick Brown you are talking about the same fear expressed by many who went to the two HEART meetings. The fear that our Councillors need to address immediately because fear is an unnacceptable way for a small close knit community to live. This is nothing short of a disaster- and anyone who cant see it as such is either blind- or part of the problem.

    If people can put aside their fear and stand together they have a chance to achieve the society they wish; the type of society they had 20 years ago when Len Michel was CE.

  4. Patrick Brown July 12, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    I don’t think it matters who started the petition; they have signed it and so are not anonymous. If you agree with it then sign it, and if you don’t, then don’t! – it could be that simple. However I know that there are people who would like to sign it, but feel they can’t, because they believe they would be targeted by being seen to be critical of Council activities. This could be through their, or even their relatives,, jobs, career paths, contracts with the Council, or housing. I know this sounds far fetched, and difficult to believe in a stable 21st century western democracy, but I have heard enough first hand accounts of this happening, or peoples fear of this happening, to be convinced that it is true. I believe that our local governance is deeply dysfunctional, and that this will lead to a dysfunctional community. There is already evidence of a polarisation and a splitting of community, which is very worrying in what should be an islands paradise. Change is desperately needed, which is the object of the petition.
    At the heart of the problem of governance is the relationship between our elected representitives, the Councillors, and the non elected chief officers of the Council; if the elected Councillors do not lead the non elected officers, then local democracy has broken down, and governance is dysfunctional.
    I don’t believe the drop in visitor numbers is the result of our present troubles; there are other factors at work here. However a divided and fearful community must in some way become less welcoming, which cannot bode well for the future, unless a healing change comes soon. We must all take responsibility for this change.

  5. pat July 12, 2012 at 11:38 am

    And i say good on anyone who wants to sign it. nothing against that. i just feel better lobbying our councillors who i may add we pay to act on our behalf. i must say i am begining to wonder who exactly is running these islands, ??. perhaps we need intervention from outside. but we still need to support our councillors… as for the school it needs to be sorted by the diocese etc and parents/staff. I dont think the public has no confidence in the officer of council to be involved…

    • Todd Stevens July 12, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      Pat, surely the petition IS lobbying our councillors!!

  6. Todd Stevens July 11, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    People who sign the petition not only want change- they are also far braver than anyone who anonymously write their opposing views to the petition on here.

    Anyone who doesnt sign is opting for another 20 years of the same regime. Of course, this is their right of free choice- but they shouldn’t criticise those who choose the opposing view. No one is forcing anyone- so I cant quite see what the argument against the petition is?? Would any of you anonymous people care to explain?

  7. Em J July 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Stuart, I find your small minded comment extremely offensive to the people who really do suffer under dictators as you mentioned. You don’t know how lucky you are to know who the Chief Exec is, and be able to talk freely with him if you wish. You might not want to, but the ability to do so is always there.

    • Diane Cidade July 13, 2012 at 9:28 am

      I think what Stuart might have been saying (and if he wasn’t, then I quite happily will) is that we here have the ability to, without physical threat or harm, affect change in our community simply by putting our names on a sheet of paper, whereas others have to put their lives on the line for the change they want to see in their communities. If anything, not taking a small stand for democracy in the least threatening of scenarios is an insult to those in the world who have lost their lives to protect what they believe is right and good, and would happily have changed places with you in a heart beat. You might not agree there are issues at hand here, but it’s worth noting that even the most evil and dangerous regimes in history had their supporters, too.

  8. Katie F July 10, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Woah woah woah 1) Are you actually comparing the ‘regime’ on Scilly to the likes of Assad, Mubarak and their ilk?! That is laughable. If you want to lay down your life for your cause Stuart then please do. I’d be interested to know what the liberated Middle Eastern press would say in their report on your demise. 2) My point was that the anonymous griping of this petition will be its downfall – it’s far more likely to accrue more signatures if people know exactly who has put it into circulation. When I, and I think Pat, said that speaking to councillors is likely to be more useful it’s because that way you’re not moaning, your initiating a constructive dialogue…

  9. Stuart July 10, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    It’s amazing when you think what the people of Egypt went through recently to dispose a despised tyrant and what the people of Syria are currently going through right now to do the same thing thing, in these country’s people are willing to die to make their country a better place but here on the Scilly’s people would rather moan than sign a petition

  10. Katie F July 9, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    If they were brave they’d put their names to it. Honest to God, it’s like watching a production of ‘The Crucible’ with all these anonymous gestures. I agree with Pat; far better to talk to people and clear things up the old fashioned way. Perhaps the reason Scilly, and our visitor numbers, are going down hill is that we’ve simply stopped talking to one another and instead feel the need to launch endless streams of online attacks and lodge untethered petitions in gloomy shops?

  11. Todd Stevens July 9, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Sadly, Pat, Councillors are people like us and they must get fed up with the public griping at them individually. A petition is a way of bringing all our grievences together as one big message. It simply has more impact. When you consider all those who wont, or cant sign it, then we dont have a lot of people left who will. ie- take out all the young and infirm- then take out those who work for the council which is about 20per cent of us- and /or those who rely on or have contracts or similar- then take out those who are scared to sign it and then those, like yourself, whom feel its better to talk to councillors or similar- then theres not a lot left of a community of only 2000 souls who will pout pen to the paper. If it gets 100 names I would be amazed. Nevertheless, even that amount would be a lot given all of the above. If you really want things to change- then sign it. Sign in the stead of someone who is scared to. I have had nothing to do with this petition or its conception but I have signed it because I want an end to this regime- and I commend all those who have had the bravery to bring it about.

  12. pat July 8, 2012 at 11:13 am

    And i would like to point out i have not signed the petition nor have i got anything to do with it. i would rather speak to the councillors and hopefully they are now aware with other people speaking to them, that there needs to be changes within the council and hopefully we will see some before the next election and i do not mean tokin gestures. but major changes. if not then next may is the time for the public to act. or i fear the power could be taken away from them altogether. as for the school lets see what the report brings out eh.

  13. pat July 8, 2012 at 1:50 am

    I would just like to say i have spoken to some councilors and Govenors, of my concerns over the school and general things and have found them very helpfull. but like ro speaking to some of the public they are a bit concerned who they feel comfortable talking to. sometimes i feel the more councillors you talk to the better, then at least they are all aware how you feel , rather then a few. and if you do feel intimated you just got to speak louder…. my faverite saying is sometimes. you just got to agree to disagree. without being to nasty. after all we are all entitled to our own oppinion. now i’m off to bed as i.m knackered. night night all.

  14. Ro July 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Yes Joby the situation is very, very sad, the world hasn’t ended and there are many wonderful people and countless positive aspects to living on Scilly – none the less if there are causes for concern which are causing distress it is better to deal with them and sort them out and clear the air than to continue to have suppressed festering damaged feelings – it’s difficult to pull together when there is bubbling dissent and so many factions at loggerheads.

  15. Joby Newton July 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    I think there are more than two ways to ‘rule people’ Todd, maybe read up on French & Raven and associated theorists.

    I find it pretty sad all this bickering and infighting, petitions, boring rhetoric and stolen quotes. In a time of falling visitor numbers people in Scilly need to pull together and we need more positive stories being portrayed to friends and visitors of the Islands.

    Its not all bad at all, the world hasn’t ended. So lets stop all this bull****

    • Todd Stevens July 7, 2012 at 11:51 pm

      You need to hear some of the remarkable tales that are behind it all. Then, perhaps, you wouldnt be so quick to call their causes bull**** For such people, myself included, it is time to push for change that has been long since overdue. Skeletons in somones closet will out!

  16. Anonymousconfused July 6, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I’m sorry i’m not weighing in here one way or the other but this isn’t the first time i’ve read about people ‘living in fear’.
    what is it exactly they’re afraid of?
    I’m perfectly willing to accept that there may be things i’m not aware of but at least let us know instead of using what seems like ambiguous propaganda and if I may say not a little of the scare tactic itself

    • Ro July 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm

      I have signed the petition because I prefer transparency and integrity to be obvious. I have spoken to several people who I like and admire who have actually said they are scared to sign as they or a member of their family work for the council or they are afraid of repercussions re tenders for their business or they live in council homes and are worried if it might adversely affect them. Even if this is not the actual case, even if it is not in fact a valid reason to be anxious or fearful it is their perception and has prevented them from expressing their honest opinion which is sad. It would be interesting to see just how many people would sign if they could be anonymous and therefore free of anxiety about repercussions.

    • Todd Stevens July 7, 2012 at 7:11 pm

      There was a town meeting a month or so ago where numerous people expressed this fear in the community. It is very real and needs to be addressed. Thi petition is people coming together to do somthing- this cannot be a bad thing.

    • Mike Brown July 8, 2012 at 8:26 am

      Answer: Their jobs!

      Many of you will remember a couple of years back I organized a petition when there was a public outcry after the Chief Officers were given an 18% pay hike in secrecy. Dozens of islanders told me that they supported the petition but were AFRAID to sign it because they or a family member worked for the council.

      We need to find out just why council staff are so afraid to let their views be known – and root it out !

  17. Todd Stevens July 5, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Two ways to rule people: either gain their respect- or make them fear you. Which of these do you think we have here? Which of these would you prefer to live with? Do you want change? or to keep the status quo for another 15-20 years? Think of how we have lived for the last 20 years and then make your choice to sign it or to not.

  18. Fiona Robson July 5, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    I agree with Colin on this one. Anyone who does not have time though, can email or write to all Councillors expressing their concerns.

    • Diane Cidade July 5, 2012 at 8:56 pm

      With all due respect, Fiona, a petition is much like a letter expressing concern(s) which is then signed by many people and, as I believe is the case here, it will be sent to Councillors. With a petition, however, if you get a certain amount of signatures, it must be discussed in council, so it may be seen as a more effective way of showing widespread concern than a handful of individuals writing letters. But I would still encourage individuals to write letters as well, by all means.

  19. Kev Wright July 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I’d imagine you’ll need a name to sign the petition with, so people aren’t being “nameless”. Not everyone has the time to commit to becoming a councillor but that shouldn’t mean their opinions aren’t valid. I voted in the last general election – namelessly putting a cross on a piece of paper – I didn’t stand for parliament myself, nor do I have any intention of doing so. That’s just the way I am able to put my opinion across. Surely this is similar?

  20. Colin P Ridsdale July 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Where were all the brave nameless islanders before the election to Council took place? If you feel so strong on any part of our local government, you should be on the Council, not signing bits of paper on shop counters, whether your case is right or not.