|Unlikely advice we''d like to see the |
PCC legal department giving out...
Comment: Its always good to open the door to the weekly Telegraph even if they did as late as February 7th slap a cheeky ' Exclusive' tag on a story the PBOROtrib has been exclusively watching and reporting on for the last few weeks! But a hat tip to them, for running the follow up and continuing story which can be read on their behind a paywall app. (or stick with us, and our FREE app. for a no-cost local solution!)
We are of course referring to the former Freemans warehouse building (not factory), where the council is seemingly making an absolute public money 'horlicks' over the partial installation and management of a solar electricity generating contract.
It is important to get to the bottom of this, as the conduct of the contract and the public accountability issues easily translate to much larger installations where the conservative leader of the council Cllr Marco Cereste is intimately involved at the contract and implementation stage.
Cllr Cereste is also chair of a Larkfleet company within a Group of companies, which have a substantial investment in solar electricity farms and already generating, feeding back to the National Grid. Let us not forget whilst talking money and contracts, Cllr. Cereste also chaired the local NHS. (We'll observe a minutes silence, and swallow a couple of Valium), now saddled with an astronomical PFI bill.
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It won't be long before the conservatives issue their pre-election period glossy magazine essentially claiming credit for everything in Peterborough, but omitting the ever mounting pile of 'ordure; created by the repeated failure of even simple conservative majority let contracts. It also calls into question, the whole operation of the Enterprise Peterborough set up.
Just what was offered as a sweetener on top of refuse and street sweeping??? ...It's all beginning to unravel and clearly an embarrassment for the majority party, as the leader is now refusing to answer even simple questions, hiding behind the skirts of the council solicitor. Pathetic!
An embarrassment as the PBOROtrib has independently had a stab at the figures and possible financial return, if the contract had been installed properly and was fully working. Reports say its only half installed and not working... Just imagine the total chaos if the PCC ever became involved in a combined solar panel and windfarm venture designed to last say 25 years?
It now seems that Enterprise Peterborough are routinely ousting local Peterborough and Cambridgeshire builders and architects from even simple renovation and installation contracts. Vivacity and Cllr Cereste for example might like to publicly explain why an Enterprise Peterborough building site board is displayed in the entrance foyer of the Council owned Key Theatre? Or is that confidential too??
Clearly Enterprise Peterborough have been given the contract to carry out works on the Key Theatre but was this ever put out to public tender in the European Journal perhaps? If so how many local contractors competed for it? Or was Enterprise offered this to add a bit of froth to the dustbin and street sweeping contract?
Cllr Cereste should obviously make a clear statement in council leaving nothing out. It has now gone too far, his veracity is being challenged on several fronts. It is a nonsense for him to claim that the council legal department have told him to say nothing, Legal departments simply advise and take instructions, they do not direct. Cllr Cereste is his own man and is well versed in what is legally possible, when it comes to awarding contracts, and also the consequences of failure.
A factual statement on matters so far will not impact on commercial confidentiality as the contract has already been let, should it go for legal process then the whole matter will in any event be aired. And as Cerestes leadership is a lightening rod for comment, the Daily Mail and the rest of the national media will certainly be all over it, We are talking about the application of public funds - borrowed funds at that, and at a time when massive and damaging budget cuts are being applied right across council, and outsourced services.
Cllr Cereste might like to consider the position that the Boeing Aircraft Company of America finds itself in over the operation of the new 787 Dreamliner, the entire fleet of aircraft delivered so far, has been grounded due to problems with the Japanese lithium ion batteries (about the size of a shoebox) overheating.
Based on Cllr Cerestes conduct of matters, Boeing would say nothing, nor would the airline operators. In fact the reverse is true, everything is open and on the table, all matters are up for discussion, as a result the 787 production line is still running, and the manufacturer has already downgraded the loss to the bottom line.
We would suggest the legal department looks up the councillors code of conduct and then reconsults with the leader, a fully detailed report on how the solar voltac contract is currently operating and being carried out is published as a council document rather than a facile watered down press release from a faceless PR.
Cllr Cereste is reported to have commented: "I stand by what I have said to council, I have been advised by the councils legal team that to comment on this would be to compromise the interests of the local authority and the public. I am protecting the public purse."
Copper bottomed rubbish Councillor, it's time to talk!
To be continued....
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