31 December 2014

Tapegate, Part Nine. In Which A Conscious Decision Is Made To Keep The Truth From Their Employer




Dramatis personae for Part Nine:

Mrs Susan Stevens (Town Clerk of New Mills and Responsible Financial Officer to New Mills Town Council  2002-2013)

Mrs Marie Dudley (Office worker at New Mills town hall - a subordinate of Mrs Stevens)

--------------------------------------------------

Continued from Tapegate Part Eight (previous article)

(Phone ringing)

SS  I was dreaming…I was dreaming…

MD  Where were you?  Caribbean.

SS  That we’d won… that we’d won the lottery…

MD  (Answering phone)  Morning New Mills Town Council.  (Pause)  Well I'm the administrator for the centre, yeah.  (Pause)  Erm probably, but I'm just about to go into a meeting with the clerk at the moment.  Could you ring me back at another time.  Ver’ busy at the moment.  Erm, we don’t really have any personnel it’s all volunteers.  Er poss…  Yeah… you’ll just have to just keep trying me really.  Alright.  Sometimes I'm here and sometimes I'm at the Centre, so…  Er Marie Dudley.  Yeah that’s fine.  All right thank you, bye.

SS  What was that?  (laughing)

MD  I don’t know, some crap about the Heritage Centre personnel resources… quiz (laughs)  Some survey they’re doing.

(Pause)

MD  I can’t believe that she thinks we’re gonna… about this

SS  I know

MD  So did they say you've to tell me or not?

(Sound of drink being stirred)

SS  Yeah

MD  Right.  So I am legally… knowing

(Sound of drink being stirred)

SS  I mean… I just.. Oh… I just despise them.  (Adopts pompous, mocking tone of voice) ‘Do you not see how this looks?’  And then Lance

MD  It didn't until you brought it up, to the public

SS  Exactly.  And Lance is going it’s in Part Two anyway.  But it’s still gonna be on the… on the minutes, isn't it…

MD  yeah

SS  And Lance is going  (Adopts pompous, mocking tone of voice) ‘What relation is... is it cousin?’  And I thought you know fucking damn well what relation it is.

MD  Oh

SS  So I said “He’s her father-in-law”

(Pause)

SS  And they’re all like ‘Oh’

(Pause)

SS  I thought I'm not giving you the satisfaction of thinking it’s Mark.  You can fuck off you bastards.

MD  I need to tell Mark and Martin that ‘I went through Martin.  He was the boss of the firm as far as this lot’s concerned’

SS  (Laughs)  Yeah, yeah

(Pause)

SS  Bastards aren't they

MD  I just think it’s fucking laughable that she thinks we’re going to fall out over it

(SS cackles)

MD  Does she not realise we’re not going to go like this:  (shrieking) “Ooh they’re going to get us!”  Does she not realise that…

SS  Shut us down for two years and we’re not… and that’s it.  We've just got to ride these bastards out.  Alistair’s coming off all the committees.  I'm coming off the bonfire (inaudible) …treasurer for the bonfire.  I'm doing nothing now.  I'm not doing food at the annual meeting...

MD  No.  ‘Cos they don’t appreciate it.  They just query it, why are we spending all this…

SS  No… (inaudible)

MD  So when they query it and say ‘why haven’t they…’

SS  Where’s the wine?

MD  Where’s the wine and food?

(Note:  These "where's the wine? etc " comments are the two employees giving their imitation of councillors after the town council annual meetings, not the two employees literally intending to start on the bottle at coming up to ten in the morning on a supposedly working day)

(Both talking at once.  Incomprehensible)

SS  Oh I didn't realise you wanted it

MD  They haven’t had a meeting to discuss it and ask us to order it so…

SS  And every fucking thing now, that they need to buy, that… That’s what I said.  I'm not going over spend.  Like this, like this bench.  No, no, Stephen, don’t buy it.  And we’ll have to check with them that they’re all right (inaudible) what did they say, over thirty quid?

MD  Over thirty quid

SS  I think it was another thirty quid

MD  Let’s see how long it takes them before they’re bored of us keep emailing them, and ringing, then they’re here till eleven o'clock at night discussing what they can and can not spend

SS  Spend.  Mmm

(Sound of teaspoon going down)

MD  We need some new paper in the office.  Oh right, how much are you ordering, five boxes.  Right, er what do you need it for.  Well we’ll need it for your next agenda

SS  Agenda, yeah

MD  Otherwise, we can’t print it off.  Can we come and have a look how many you've got.  Yeah by all means come and have a look but you need to be making a decision otherwise there’ll be no letters and no agendas going out (laughs)

(Sound of keyboard tapping)

MD  I can’t believe what (inaudible) they are.  I really can’t.  But they’re not ringing up are they?

SS  No

MD  Have you noticed the phones have gone very quiet and none of them ring up do they?

SS  Yeah

(Sound of keyboard tapping)

MD  Was Gwyn there?

SS  Yeah

MD  Did she speak?

SS  Erm, she was saying, she was saying, she was talking to Alistair and at the end Alistair said, he said ‘I don’t know how she does this, I don’t know how she copes with these situations to, you know, to the degree that she does.  (Whispering)  They’re not interested, they’re truly not interested.

MD  They’re not.  The only thing they’re interested in is (inaudible)  But the thing is, they just need to realise that at some point they are the ones (inaudible)

(Pause)

MD  Hello Kevin, you all right?

(Sound of male voice)

MD  Erm, they should be here by ten.

(Sound of telephone being dialled)

SS  I’ll just send this and then I’ll…

MD  … in the waiting room, all right

SS  I’ll hang on for this guy now, and then I might go home.  I am going to go to the doctors, and just see what they say.

MD  Take a photocopy of your prescription so you can say ‘this is what you tossers have done to me’

SS  (on phone)  What, what, how much more was this picnic table, thirty quid?

(Sound of cups and drinks etc)

SS  (talking on phone)  Well you've got four hundred and fifty.  Oh, four forty five.  Right, okay.  Right okay, no problem.  Another forty quid.  Yeah, yeah.  All right, brill.  Yeah.  See you in a bit.  Bye, bye.

SS (to MD)  Where’s he gone now?  Thought he were in the building.

MD  Who?  No, he drove off

(Sound of cups and drinks etc)

MD  So are these union reps any good or are they just bag of shit?

SS  I don’t know

(Sound of cups and drinks etc)

MD  They just want naming and shaming these tossers

SS  I know

(Pause)

(Phone rings)

MD  Good morning New Mills town council.  Hiya, all right?  Well.  In… in soul.  (laughs) She’s here in body she’s not here officially.  We’re just talking.  She’s all right.  But she’s not here to work, so…  (pause)  She’s not here if anybody rings for her.  All right.  Yeah, yeah, she’s going ‘ome when she’s spoke to this bloke now… she’s chillin’, she’s all right.  (laughs)  All right then.  See you later.  Right, bye.

SS  Who was that?

MD  Ian

SS  What did he say?

MD  Has she gone home?

(Pause)

(Sound of town hall clock hour chimes:  10:00 a.m.)

(Mrs Susan Stevens switches off the recorder)


(End of Tapegate Transcripts)

29 December 2014

Tapegate, Part Eight. It's Official: Hell Freezes Over




Dramatis personae for Part Eight:

Mrs Susan Stevens (Town Clerk of New Mills and Responsible Financial Officer to New Mills Town Council  2002-2013)

Mrs Marie Dudley (Office worker at New Mills town hall and subordinate of Mrs Stevens)

--------------------------------------

Continued from Tapegate Part Seven  (previous article)

MD  What really, really, really pisses me off is that this would never have been brought back to light had all those problems not arisen with the cottage and all the…

SS  I know, I know.

MD  It just wouldn't… it’d have gone through, as a figure, like it normally does and they've only questioned it because they've already discussed it… (inaudible)

SS  Exactly, exactly.  It’s so annoying.  It’s so annoying.

MD  The only reason it’s been picked up on is because…

SS  Have we got all the weddings on…(inaudible)… any missing

MD  They’re all there, what’s in that diary (inaudible) …they haven’t given us

SS  Lance.  He says ‘I know nothing… I know nothing about these… these conversations.  And, er.... er… ‘Cos I said ‘I know about all these emails flying backwards and forwards behind my back.  So don’t think I don’t.  And he’s going ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’.  And he sent me an email saying ‘I don’t know what… I re-iterate I do not know what…’  I said I have a copy of an email that says… that would indicate otherwise… So I've got that email, that she’s sent to him.  And he hasn't let me know that it’s come in.

MD  No.  And he’s supposed to

SS  Mmm

(Both talking at once)

SS   …I've got my union representative coming tomorrow morning and until after… and I will not be speaking on this matter again until I've spoken to my union representative.

MD  But this Personnel Sub-committee, who is going to that?

SS  Don’t know…no idea, because…

MD   Are they wanting this breakdown by then?

SS  Yeah

MD  Maybe… I think that’s why I should email the councillors now and say I will get you the information that you've requested

SS  Well have a word with Alistair and we’ll… we’ll get it right.

(Pause)

SS  I'm… I'm… I'm quite happy to say I think you’re all a bunch of fuckers at the moment

MD  Say it to their face, don’t (inaudible)

(SS and MD inaudible)

SS  I said I'm gonna get… I gonna get Ja… our James to post something to that fucking woman, and I'm gonna fuck… you are an evil evil evil cow.  With fat ankles  (MD cackles)  And I said…and I didn't download Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead when Margaret Thatcher died.  But when you die, I will (incomprehensible) 

(MD laughs)

SS  All in bits off the Manchester Evening News.  Alistair’s like that…

(SS does impression of Alistair Stevens.  SS and MD laughing and cackling)

(MD and SS talking at once, incomprehensible)

MD  I've thought about sending stuff from here before now… and I thought just my luck they’d have it investigated…

SS  Investigated

(SS and MD talking at once)

MD  …same paper… and that typeface off this computer and a phone on it somewhere…

SS  I know, I know.  Oh God

MD  I just want them to ring up to speak to me now, because…

SS  I said I will never, ever, ever, speak to that Lance Dowson again.  Ever.  And Alistair’s going… (incomprehensible words but impression of Alistair Stevens)  I’ll do it.  I'm not speaking to him again.  I will not…

MD  You give him short shrift when he walks in anyway (inaudible) …blunt and walk past him

SS  Because he knows exactly what’s been going on.  They’re like a double act, him and Andy BowersAlistair... (whispering)

MD  I need to find them invoices tonight.  And I need to have a look how much… how much erm… how much er… (inaudible) …find the invoices.

SS  Just put in for… every... fucking screw that he used, every…

MD  Yeah

SS  Yeah

(Sound of bells chiming three quarters to the hour:  9:45 a.m.)

MD  You know… if I can (inaudible) …I’ll print the invoices off… (inaudible)  let (inaudible) know they’re having this meeting

SS  …fuck off… (inaudible) get ourselves organised and then… I mean, luckily we've got Ian and Ray on that Personnel Sub-committee.

MD  Why is it Personnel Sub-committee?  What’s that got to do with a fucking bridge?

SS  God fucking knows.  ‘Cos, it’s… ‘cos they think they’re going to discipline me.  I went, I went…

MD  Oh right.  It’s aimed at… is this aimed at you, this Personnel Sub-committee

SS  Oh yeah, yeah.  So, that’s when Alistair said, well is Susan… do you want the clerk to mention this to Marie?  And they’re like… Er… And they didn't know what to say.  And then… (inaudible)

MD  Are you not supposed to mention it to me?

SS  …and this is when… Well that’s exactly right isn't it… and then I realise that she’s trying to split… trying to cause a division.  ‘Cos she said erm well… er… you can’t have… are you both in Unison?  So I looked at her I said… she said…  Because you can’t have erm… you can’t have… er… a disagreement between two people and be represented by the same union.  And I thought why is this a disagreement?  What are you saying here?

MD  Disagreement between who?

SS  (quickly) I don’t know

MD  Me and you?

SS  Yeah

MD  They’re having a fucking laugh aren't they?

SS  (incomprehensible)

MD  Fucking hell would freeze over before I’d (inaudible) with that lot

SS  I just thought ‘Oh my God’

MD  I’d rather lose my job


(The telephone rings)



28 December 2014

Tapegate, Part Seven. In which Councillor Stevens Phones Town Clerk Mrs Stevens. And Vice Versa




Dramatis personae for Part Seven:

Mrs Susan Stevens (Town Clerk of New Mills and Responsible Financial Officer to New Mills Town Council  2002-2013)

Stephen Lewis (Parks Manager employed by New Mills town council)

Mrs Marie Dudley (Office worker at New Mills town hall)

Councillor Alistair Stevens (A very lengthy part, but by telephone only)

A Delivery Man

----------------------------------


Continued from Tapegate Part Six (previous article)


(The phone rings)

MD  Good morning, New Mills Town Council.  (Laughs.  Laughs again)  I’ll put you through

SL (inaudible)

SS  Who is it?  Who is it?

MD  It’s a c**nting bastard councillor on the phone (laughs)

SS  (laughs)  Hello  (laughs)

(MD can be heard laughing in the background)

SS  I'm going ‘ome.  I'm going ‘ome.  Ian’s… Ian’s told me to go ‘ome.

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  He just said ‘Oh are you still here then.’  I said ‘just about’ and then I just burst into tears.  I said they were absolutely appalling last night.  I said I've got a union rep coming to see me today and I said I just can’t do this any more Ian.  I said I don’t know what… I just don’t know what… So he’s going to phone you.

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  Ian

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  So I think… I think more emails got bandied about yesterday.  There must have been.  I said…

(Long pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

MD  Ask him does he think it’s a good idea or a bad idea for me to email the councillors

SS  Marie wants to email the councillors saying she thinks it’s appalling that they’re…  do you think that’s a good idea?

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  She wants to email and say… (to MD)  What do you want to do?

MD  They’re accusing me of bringing my family in to do work at over-priced rates and stuff

SS  (To AS) That’s what she… yeah.  Hang on a minute.  Oh, oh right, yeah, sorry.

(Puts the phone down)

SS  Cheapskate bastard’s only got a pay…

(MD laughs)

SS  …pay-as-you-go phone

(MD and SS both laugh)

(Sound of office telephone being dialled)

SS  (makes a whooping and laughing sound)  No, I know.  Right.  Ooh my God.  Brilliant.  How’ve you found that out?

(Long pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  Yeah.  Yeah.  She wants to… she wants to email all the councillors saying she thinks it’s appalling that sh... erm… she’s being accused of bringing her family in to do work for the council at over-inflated prices.  You know: 'This wasn't the case at all'.

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  Effect… eff... I’ll put you through to him.  I’ll put you through to her…

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  Yeah.  yeah.  Right.

(Long pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  Right.  Yeah.  Yeah.  Yeah.  I know.

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  Yeah, yeah.  All right.  Yeah.  Yeah, I will, I will.

(Long pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  Well I've just… we've just been a talking, and Stephen and Marie have said they’ll come in and explain how Peter was.  And that Peter wouldn't tell you when there was a problem, until it suited him.

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  Stephen is going to do that.  I said ‘cos if…

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

(MD talks to someone who’s just come into the town hall entrance corridor)

MD  Hello.  They won’t be here yet… probably.  They don’t start ‘till ten.  (inaudible)  There’s nobody here yet… (inaudible)  Alright…

SS  (talking to Alistair Stevens)  …at my busiest time.

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  (talking to Alistair Stevens)  Okay, oh very good… (laughs)  Okay… yeah… (laughs)  okay… Alan Carr… right, all right, see you in a bit…

(Long pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  Right, okay, yeah

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  Right. all right…  I know.  Yeah, I know.  Yeah, I know.

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  No, I know.  I know.  Yeah

(Long pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  No.  I know

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  Yeah…

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  Oh, I know what they’ll try and do

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  Ability.  They were already trying to do that last night.

(Long pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  Yeah.  Yeah.  Mmm  Yeah.  Yeah.  Yeah.

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  They didn't say that, did they?  Last night?  Did they say that last night?

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  Yeah, yeah.  Yeah.  Yeah, yeah

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  I know.  I know.

(Long pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  No, I don’t think so.  No, no, this is to do with the fact that Mark Willerton hadn't got that job.  And… erm… and… Lance… Lance is just… Lance will just support anything that he can… he can… make a song and dance about.  And Andy Bowers is just a c**t.

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  Oh yeah, definitely.  Like Marie said… this… it’s personal… that’s… it’s personal down to that and it’s also the f… it’s little things, like Marie said… we wouldn't let him put that glass in that door. And he’s pissed off about that because it… you know…

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  Yeah, yeah.  Yeah.  yeah.

(Pause while Alistair Stevens is talking at the other end of the line)

SS  Yeah.  All right chum.  See you in a bit. See you chum.  Love you.  Bye.

(Sound of phone going down)

SS (to Marie)  He’ll talk to you about it… He said probably wait till we've had the meeting with the Personnel sub-committee.  If that ever fucking happens.

(inaudible)

SS  I'm sorry Marie.  I'm so upset.  I'm so tired of it all.

MD and SS (inaudible)

SS  I feel like.. I felt like… This morning even when I walked in I felt like getting the tray and just scattering it all

MD  I know, it’s not fair is it?  ‘Cos it’s a nice job isn't it

SS  Yeah, yeah

MD  If they weren't in it

SS  I know

MD it’d be brill.

(Both talking at once)

SS  He said, once they realise that, you know, that I haven’t been in… as much involved in... in it as they… they... they were like oh… but now they’re like… I think they’re trying to divide and conquer this office.  Definitely trying to…

(Sound of the town hall front door opening and closing.  A delivery man arrives)

MD  What is it?

Delivery Man:  It’s for… Anthony Lawton

MD  Anthony Lawton?

SS  Who?

MD  Anthony Lawton.  We haven't got anybody by that name.

SS  That’s Jeff’s dad.  What’s this.  What's he having delivered here now?

MD  Are we just New Mills mailing office…

(Laughter)

SS It's like another sorting office

(Laughter)

SS  Susan Stevens

Delivery Man:  Thank you

MD  It’s a good job you’re here, I’d have sent it back

SS  New Mills central sorting office, this (Delivery Man laughs)

Delivery Man:  Cheers

SS  Thanks, bye

27 December 2014

Tapegate. Part Six: In Which Staff Waste More Council Time And Come To Some More False Conclusions


Dramatis personae for Part Six

Mrs Susan Stevens (Town Clerk of New Mills and Responsible Financial Officer to New Mills Town Council  2002-2013)

Stephen Lewis (Parks Manager employed by New Mills town council)

Mrs Marie Dudley (Office worker at New Mills town hall)

------------------------------------


Continued from Tapegate Part Five (previous article):


SL  Sometimes I think Tony Ashton knows what he’s doing, and then he comes out with the most fucking ridiculous things

SS  Ooh.  He was… he was shocking last night

MD  Did he not stand up for you?

SS  No, did he fuck.  He was the one that's saying ‘right, I think this has got to be fully investigated’

SL  No well that’s his get-out clause…

MD  Fucking disabled bridge

SL  That was his get-out clause.  He doesn't like fucking people wittering on about anything does he? He just throws it on to the back burner whenever it… (inaudible)

MD  You know I wouldn't mind so much if it was something that they were going to sell on…

SS  I know

MD  … at some point, for somebody, you know like (inaudible)

SS  (inaudible)

MD  I wouldn't mind if… now we decided we didn't want it and now we've got to sell it…(inaudible)

SS  And we got an internal decorator in here and we got like, (inaudible) wallpaper on the walls and there was plush carpets and… and... oh did I need to get three quotes for that.  It’s a fucking disabled entrance, which is… it’s paramount to your full use of your building.

SL  Full use

SS  And they have not read that report.  They were not interested.  They couldn't wait to get to that part.  In fact they even, they even started discussing it in Part One

MD  Did they?

SL  Yeah they did didn't they

SS  They couldn't wait to get to that…

MD  The thing they've got to realise is that even if Peter had shut the bridge they couldn't have used the building to the capacity it’s supposed to be used because that disabled access…

SS  Is your fire exit

MD  Is your fire exit.  So it’s got to be accessible

SL  If Peter had of… just not opened the door there would have been load of emails bandied about, about what a disgrace it was.

MD  And that would have been our fault

SL  That’d have been your fault again....

SS  Yeah

SL  … for not opening the door

SS  I know.  I know

(Pause.  Town hall bells can be heard chiming half past the hour - 9:30 a.m.)

SS  Alistair said ‘I told you they were after you.  I told you there were gonna do this’  And I just, you know, you think people are better than that but they’re not.  They’re like a pack of dogs.

SL  Petty.  They’re grinding an axe about Willerton not getting the caretaker’s job aren't they, the Gadds.  (inaudible)

SS  Yeah.  Yeah.

SL (inaudible)

MD  He didn't want it though Stephen.  He didn't even apply.

SS  He didn't apply

MD  He didn't want the job.  He came in and said to Susan this job isn't for me at this time, I won’t be applying for the job.  He didn't even put an application in

SS  So...

SL  Yeah but he’d already decided, because it wasn't Peter’s wage he didn't really want it

SS  Well that's you know...

MD  Well that’s what I'm saying but that was his choice

SL  But a job’s a job still, isn't it

MD and SS  Yeah

MD  But he said… he came in and said ‘I'm just coming to let you know...’

SS  And then he said ‘my mum says it’s illegal what you’re doing’

SL  Yeah

(Pause)

SS  And then he said exactly the same thing

SL  (Incomprehensible)  So if Joe Bloggs who owns a farm decides he’s going to take a new labourer on, somebody leaves and he decides to take a new one on, and decides not to pay him same wage as the one before, he’s fucking acting illegally? (derisory, scornful tone of voice)  Because he's not spending more money than what he did last time

SS and MD (snort and laugh)  Yeah.

23 December 2014

Tapegate. Part Five: 'Doughty would have crushed all this'







Dramatis personae for Part Five:

Mrs Susan Stevens (Town Clerk of New Mills and Responsible Financial Officer to New Mills Town Council  2002-2013)

Stephen Lewis (Parks Manager employed by New Mills town council)

Mrs Marie Dudley (Office worker at New Mills town hall)



Continued from Tapegate Part Four:

MD:  What do they normally give her?

SS:  £350, and a £350 loan. (laughing tone of voice)

MD:  Have they not given her the loan?

SL:  What’s all this… budget meeting, you've got three grand and you can’t fucking… you’re going back and forward trying to get rid of it.

SS:  I know.

SL:  Leave some int’ bank.  You don’t have to spend it ‘cos you've got it.  As you keep telling me.

SS:  Yeah.

(MD and SL laugh)

SS:  I've had enough of them.

SL:  ‘Give ‘em five hundred…’ (incomprehensible)  I were whatsit… (incomprehensible) ‘…plays for the band so I think we should give them five hundred.’  You can see it can’t you, it’s all over the place.

SS:  I know, I know.

SL:  Patting one another ont’ back.

SS:  …back.

SL  Give Bob... give Robert... (incomprehensible)

SS:  Oh, in the public meeting, in the public speaking… ‘I think we should have a vote of thanks for Councillor Lance Dowson for all the work that he’s done on the ambulance thing…’

SL …on the ambulance thing, yeah.

SS:  And they’re like ‘I propose that… I second it… all in favour…’  I said you don’t vote in public participation.

(MD laughs)

MD:  They’re all too busy looking for ways to pick instead of doing what they’re supposed to be doing aren't they.

SS:  Exactly, exactly.  That’s what I'm going to say to this union guy.  He thinks it’s going to have to be mediation.

SL:  What… nobody come to that meeting with a suggestion of how to spend that four grand.

(Sound of drinks being stirred and cups etc)

SS:  No.  And that’s what Alistair said.  You've been asked twice.  And I keep telling … and he come back, and they keep saying ‘we want lights’ and I keep telling you ‘You can’t have lights down there.  She won’t allow it.’  And you ke… and then it’s like ‘Why not?  Why not?’

SL:  You can have lights…

SS:  Ask her!  Don’t ask me!  I don’t make the fucking rules.

(Sound of hot drink stirring)

SL:  You can have lights…but you can’t access grant money.

SS: I know.  I know.

SL:  But...

SS:  I'm going to email her and see if I can pay for the hanging baskets

SL:  Strikes me she’s set one law up for us and one for everybody else, myself.

SS:  Well that’s not my argument Stephen, that’s up to… why don’t they

SL  Yeah.

SS:  Instead of…

SL:  It’s as plain as the nose on your face what’s going on, she wants us to spend that money on something that they should be spending it on to save them money.

SS  Well that’s what I'm trying to say, you know ooh we’ll put benches on and er planters on the promenade.  So I said so you’re paying for… you’re paying to decorate High Peak Borough Council’s part… and they still don’t fucking get it do they?.

SL  I said that to Andy Bowers across the table. I said you’re doing their job for them.  They’re giving you the money to spend on their job…

(Phone starts ringing)

SS  On their job.

SL  To save them doing their job.  We just take the administration (incomprehensible) they should be doing anyway.

SS  They won’t hear it from me though will they.

SS (answering phone) Good afternoon… Good morning, New Mills Town Council.  Just about.  (adopts a wailing and sobbing tone)  Oh Ian I can’t speak at the moment, I'm so sorry.  I can’t do this any more.  They were aw…www…ful last night.

(Pause while Ian Huddlestone speaks at the other end of the line)

I'm going to speak to… the union man’s coming today at eleven o'clock and… I don’t know what to do any more.  They were absolutely shocking.  He’s talking about mediation so I've got to speak to him today.  I said ‘cos I don’t…

(Pause)

He’s trying to get back.  But he’s trying to open, he’s trying to get all the work done in Oldham for his… for his business and stuff and…  It was… it was… so clear that they weren't interested in what Alistair had to say or anything.  He’s just said I might as well have not been there last night Susan, he said... they don’t want me there, there not giving me… he doesn't think they’re giving him a chance to be a councillor and erm… I’d have to agree really.

(Pause)

And it’s awful.  I mean, you know... they’re virtually… they’re questioning their own resolutions now.  But blaming me for it.  They’re going back six months to have a look at a disabled entrance, they had two opportunities to question what they've spent on that disabled entrance.  I've given them that report, they hadn't read it.

Or they had read it but they didn't want to… they weren't interested in anything that I… that was… I had to say in that report.

(Pause)

I don’t… I've… I shouted at Lance yesterday and I … and I probably shouldn't have done but I…  I'm at the end of me tether now.

I know there’re emails flying behind… you know round

(Pause)

Yeah… Well, I've got… I'm seeing the union man but I'm going to the doctors this afternoon.

(Noise of someone coming in the office, SS gives noticeable sobs)

MD (whispers) Come on.

SS:  Right okay.  I know.  I know.  Yeah.

(Sound of cup being put down)

SS  Okay.  Okay.  Yeah.  Okay.  Right, okay.  Right, yeah.  He’s trying to come back to speak to the union man.

(Pause while Ian Huddlestone speaks at the other end of the line)

All right.  Okay.  Thanks Ian.  Yeah.  I’ll speak to you soon.  Yeah… yeah… yeah.  (To Marie)  He wants a word with you.

MD:  Hello?  No.  Okeydoke.  No probs.  All right.  Err… I will have, yeah.  Yeah, yeah.  No problem.  All right.  See you later.  All right.  Bye.

(Phone is put down)

SS  I've just drunk your coffee (laughing and coughing)  Oh God… (coughing)  Oh dear, sorry.

(Marie laughs)

MD:  So what was such a big thing that he couldn't come last night?  (Note: referring to Ian Huddlestone)

SS  Labour meeting.

MD  Oh right.  Do you want to go home for a bit?

SS.  Yeah.  Fuckers.

MD  Is the union man coming here or to your house?

SS  Yeah.  So I’ll just… I’ll just… he’s gonna phone.  So, if he phones… 'cos… I think he’s gonna phone when he’s arriving, if you tell him… I think Janet’s supposed to be meeting him as well… coming and meeting him as well so…  he can come to our house… I'm not bothered.  Get the kitchen straight.

(MD laughs)

SS  I've been thinking and I can’t… I can’t keep doing this… last night in the meeting I just felt like… picking everything up and just throwing it at them you know what I mean.  I really did want to just… I wanted to kick them and everything… hurt them.  They were so horrible.  They were so horrible Marie.  I'm sorry.

MD  It’s not your fault it’s them bunch of bastards.  Don’t worry about ‘em.   I know it’s hard… it’s easy for people to stand and say, but they are just a bunch of tossers but…

SS  They do…they’re almost trying to get… They want me to lose me job.

MD  But who’s going to do it?  Somebody else is still going to come in and tell ‘em to do what they've got to do...

SS  I know

MD  ...and not let them do whatever…

SS  You know, it’s just like it’s almost like… especially… oh I don’t know, this disabled entrance.  They were…

MD  But you had a thing anyway didn't you, for emergencies.

SS Yeah.

MD  What’s your budget…

SS  Oh no, apparently it wasn't an emergency because there was a cone on the back of that car park in September.  So why is it… why was it suddenly so urgent?  I'm like, I don’t know anything about a cone.

MD  They didn't have Peter Bailey fucking jumping up and down in here.

SS  Well I said that, and they said, and he said…

MD  Day after day.

SS  What’s this?  Peter demanded?  How can a caretaker demand that something’s done?  And I said you… I said you have no idea what Peter was like those last few months.

MD  And also, he sees things that we don’t see.

SS  He was unbearable.  I said he’s your caretaker as well…  If he’s telling you that something’s…

MS  Dangerous.

SS  You know I said that… I said that… To a degree I delegated it, I said because I had all the… the erm… applications coming in, you wanted me, I was trying to sort out what we were going to do with Peter when he went.  And it all came at the same time and I said and... you know, okay so… ‘Well who were these people that she contacted?’  I said I don’t have that information to hand.

And then that Andy Bowers said ‘And I told you I wanted to see a copy of the invoice.’  I said ‘No you didn't.’  ‘Yes I did.’  Well I’ll show you the emails and you show me anywhere on that email where he says he wants to see a copy of that invoice.  So he got all the accounts out.  From that fucking big box…

(MD laughs)

SS  ‘Well there’s no breakdowns.  We want a breakdown.’  And I'm thinking you cheeky fuckers you… you’re all… you’re virtually saying… that you’re questioning your own resolution.  Because that went through a meeting.  On a schedule for payment.  And it’s there.

MD  Yeah.  So what were they doing that week then?

SS  I don’t know.  And then… And then it also came back.  With it all listed, who got paid… didn't it?  In November… for ‘em to…

MD  yeah, yeah.

SS  You could have questioned… they didn't do it then.  But no, they hit me with a question.  Ni… eight months later and I'm supposed to be able to give ‘em answers like that.

MD  I do vaguely re…  I'm sure, I'm sure they questioned it.  I'm sure Mark Gadd questioned it.

SS  I'm sure he did.  I'm sure he did.

MD  I know he questioned it when they were doing it.

SS  But then that Mark Willerton, slimy little c**t, he’s been telling… he must have mentioned that there was a … there was a… he said there was a… there was a… what do you call em?  A bollard there.  A cone.  Stopping people from wal…  I said it didn't stop em from walking on it.  There might have been a puddle.  It might have been there for a puddle.

MD  Mmm.

SS  But that wasn't the ur… that wasn't… that wasn't… ‘Well it can’t have been that urgent if you've had a cone up there in September and you did nothing about it.’  I said I didn't know anything… I didn't know there was a problem.  I don’t fucking go…

SL  Mmm.

SS  I don’t go up there.

MD  Peter kept telling us for months that there was a… that the bridge was getting worse.

SS Worse.

MD  Worse and worse and worse, and then he came in and said…

(Male voices, incomprehensible)

SS  …that somebody had tripped.

MD  … said that somebody had tripped.

SS  Yeah.  And he was going to shut it.

(Male voices, incomprehensible)

SS  How can a caretaker threaten to close this building?  ‘Cos he’s your caretaker !?

SL  Yeah but they don’t realise what he were like.

SS  No, I know they don’t.

SL  He, that problem could have been there for two years but he wouldn't tell you until it suited him.

SS  Exactly.

SL  He’d just store it up as a…

SS  Exactly.

SL  (incomprehensible)

MD I mean with hindsight yeah, we should have said no Peter, fuck off.  You shouldn't even be here.

SL  Then he’d have said ‘I'm not unlocking that door tonight if that’s not done…'

MD  He would have done.  And if I remember rightly Stephen, we had a bloody big do on that weekend and that was one of the things that you know…

SS  (Incomprehensible)

MD:  You’re gonna have to write to them, and all the clubs, and tell them they can’t get in.

SL  Yeah.  And that’s what he would do.

SS  And I need you… I need you to say this to them if they… I need you both to come in and say this to ‘em ‘cos they don’t listen to me.

SL  Mmm.

SS  They really do not listen to me…

MD  They don’t ask me though, they don’t talk to me
.
SS  No, I know they don’t

SL  Nah

SS  They really don’t.  They’re not… They have no interest in what I've got to say at the moment.

SL They've made their own mind up haven’t they.

SS  And that Welsh fucking twat.  He’s like a fucking virus he is…

MD  I might just email ‘em all and say I'm absolutely disgusted and appalled that you’re questioning my… you know, that I've brought my family in to do a job and that they've basically overcharged you.

SS  Mmm.

MD  I might just email ‘em and just do it.  So long as I don’t put anything nasty, like I want to kill you or anything, they can’t do me can they (laughs)

SS  (laughs)

SL  (incomprehensible)

MD  Watch your back.

SS  No.  I have dreams that I’d like… batter ‘em.  I'm... I'm...

MD  You just need a cattle prod and then you can electrocute Lance.  He’ll die ‘cos his heart’s not very good (laughs)

SS (laughs)  What a sli… They’re just horrible.  They were horrible last night and I knew they would be.  I knew they would be when that spineless Barrow twat wasn't here (nasty tone of voice).  I mean why have they had… why have they called a Labour meeting on…

SL  Yeah…

SS  On a night… I haven’t sprung this meeting on ‘em… They've had that fucking calendar… High Peak

MD  Was it their own little personal Labour meeting?

(All talking at once)

SL  It’s the Labour Party.

SS  High Peak Labour Party meeting wasn't it… why don’t they tell them… why don’t they say ‘We can’t make it that night, we've got a council… town council meeting.

MD  Surely this should be more important than that?

SL  Yeah, it should.

MD  Especially when something’s kicking off like this and they’re supposed to be your support.

SL  Even more so with Alan Barrow when he wants electing to do a job on County Council when he can’t even turn up at fucking meetings for what he’s already elected for.

MD  Yeah.

SS  For, yeah.

MD  Mind you, Ian’s no better than that fucker is he… and he got back on.

SL  He never shows, does he.

SS  No.

SL  Sits there like he’s watching the clock… (scornful tone of voice)

MD  He disappeared for half of the year, just before elections and then they put him back on, the stupid tossers. (laughs).  He’s all mouth and no trousers.

SS  He is.  He is.

MD  He shits himself at any sign of…

SS  Andy Bowers.  They need to… I mean… The council owe me an apology really, because they’re the ones that sit there and let it happen, they’re as much to blame.

MD  They are.  They are.

SS  You know, all the ones that sit and let Lance.

MD  You see Andy Bowers has had…

SS  Andy Bowers is a swine.

MD  He’s had a thing in his claw, bloody claw in his foot, since we shouted him down and said we weren't having his fucking windows int’ doors (laughs)

SS  Yeah.

MD  He’s never forgiven us for that, not letting him win,  ‘Cos he was adamant he was doing it.

SS  Yeah, I know. I know.  But what right have they got to do… with… you know, are they going to tell me which way I've got to have me desk facing next?

MD  Probably.  Your Chi’s all wrong (laughs)

SL  There’s nobody there to call order is there?

MD  No.

SL  You know, like Doughty at one time would have crushed all this…

SS  Exactly.

SL  (all this) embarrassing us in public.

SS  Yeah.

MD  There’s nobody that’s ashamed that this is all going out into the public thing, is there.

SS  No, no


21 December 2014

Tapegate: Excerpt from The Original Soundtrack


Following on from the series of transcripts published so far, we now arrive at a part of the Tapegate recording where the written word cannot do justice to the acting ability suddenly demonstrated in the Town Clerk's office of New Mills.  This occurs when the telephone rings and it is Ian Huddlestone at the other end of the line:

Warning:  The recording below contains explicit language that some may find offensive.

If you are offended by swearing and explicit language then do NOT listen to this part of the recording.



19 December 2014

Tapegate. Part Four: In The Town Clerk's Office, Let Us Talk Of The One World Festival And Other Things




Dramatis personae for Part Four:

Mrs Susan Stevens (Town Clerk of New Mills and Responsible Financial Officer to New Mills Town Council  2002-2013)

Stephen Lewis (Parks Manager employed by New Mills town council)

Mrs Marie Dudley (Office worker at New Mills town hall)


Continued from Part Three (previous article)

SS:  So he came in, yester… He came in the meeting and he’s like to… he says to Janet something: (whispers) “I need to speak to you”.  So they scuttled out, came back in and then when the grant thing was being discussed, he walked out.

MD:  Did he.  So he’s going to bring that against you now…

SS:  I don’t know.

MD:  … ‘cos you didn't give him information.

SS:  Well I did.  And then they didn't read it.  He said something like erm…’The Clerk sent a report about the grant but erm… other things er… meant that I couldn't digest it.’  FUCK OFF!

(MD gasps: sounds like being delighted and shocked at the same time)

SL  He did didn't he

MD:  Did he come back?

SL:  Yeah he did say that, and I thought what’s he on about…

MD:  Did he come back or did he stay out?

SS:  Yeah, he came back as soon as it had finished being talked about.

MD:  Fingerposts.  Does he not realise what a tit he looks when he walks out on some…  He looks a tit on all the things when he keeps abstaining from votes.

SS:  Oh…  I mean, they had a go at me minutes again, didn't they?

SL:  Yeah.  I'm not very happy about that piece that’s gone in about that battery either.  I didn't realise that had gone in.

SS:  Oh, well they made me do it Stephen.

SL:  Well they should have asked for a full explanation from you of why, shouldn't they?

SS:  I tried.

SL:  Before they fucking put it in for posterity that I've wasted fucking money.

SS:  Marie’s…  me and Marie are in there because we've had a fucking disabled entrance done, and… and… we've… we've benefited from it.  (i.e. that’s what SS is asserting some councillors were saying in last night’s council meeting)  In some god forsaken way.

MD:  (laughs) Yeah. I'm going to Disneyland Paris on the profits from it I fucking wish. (laughs)

SL:  The only knob that weren't there were Sheila Brown.

SS:  Eh?

SL:  I bet the only knob that weren't there were Sheila Brown.

SS:  Yeah, yeah

SL:  I'm really pleased that they didn't give her… that they only give her fucking whatsit…  250 quid.  (nasty tone of voice)

SS:  I am, yeah.  One World Festival, (only) 250 quid.  I can’t wait to tell ‘em…  (Gleeful  tone of voice, and laughing)


To be continued...

17 December 2014

Tapegate. Part Three: We're Taking The Public's Money And This Is What We Do For It





Continued from previous article...

Dramatis personae for Tapegate Part Three:

Mrs Susan Stevens (Town Clerk of New Mills and Responsible Financial Officer to New Mills Town Council  2002-2013)

Stephen Lewis (Parks Manager employed by New Mills town council)

Mrs Marie Dudley (Office worker at New Mills town hall)

Paul Miller (Caretaker at New Mills town hall)

-----------------------------------

The working day began some time ago, but in the New Mills Town Council offices, three of the paid staff don't seem to have noticed...


(Clinking of a spoon on a cup or mug)

SS:  Personnel Sub-committee it will be.  ‘This has got to go to the Pers… this has got to be investigated by Personnel Sub-committee.’

MD:  Why?

SL:  Can’t be arsed with it. (laughs)

(Indecipherable muttering, Stirring of more hot drinks. PM leaves, and three are left in the office)

SS:  ‘This looks very bad.  That,... that somebody’s related.’  And I thought you want to… you really do want to start becoming councillors...

MD:  It’s only them that’s making it bloody public knowledge, jumping up and down.

SS  ... instead of witch-hunting

SL:  Yeah

(Pause)

SL  Twatface come didn't he

SS  Eh?  yeah… yeah…

SL:  McAllister

SS:  McAllister came.

MD:  Did he?   (tone of voice both surprised and knowing at the same time, as if she’s just been told that someone she doesn't like has given birth to a baby with two heads)

SS:  But he left as soon as they’d discussed the… err…

SL:  He got up to go and then he sat down again.

SS:  Yeah

SL:  At one point.

SS:  I don’t know… and then he left after the parish council meeting had been discussed.

(SL makes an incoherent Mr Gumby noise)

SS  Good

SL:  He went past… he went past and I thought, ‘Why don’t you die.’ (nasty tone of voice)

SS:  Yeah… And what...  Well, there’s about four in there I want to die.

(MD sniggers)

SS  I really do

MD:  You leaking?

SL:  No.  It's (incomprehensible) inside

(MD and SL laugh.  SL makes another incoherent noise)

SS:  Lance phoned me up yesterday and er... and he’s saying ‘I need to speak to you about this grant…  I need information on this grant… I said right OK… blah blah blah blah.  I tried to explain it to him… (SS imitates Lance) ‘Oh, oh, these finger-posts’

I said, I said look, Lance.  I said, I know what’s being fucking said about me behind me back and these fucking finger posts.  Mark Gadd thinks I can’t be bothered doing my job.  I said, but I'm telling you now that the brown signs are highway signs and I cannot… we, they, don’t qualify for it. And I said and I can’t do anything about the finger posts ‘cause the finger posts are already full.

So he’s going 'I don't know what you're talking...'  (incoherent noise).  I said I've had enough of you Lance.  I've had enough of this council.  I said and ... I don’t think you realise how bad it’s become.

And I said… And he’s like, trying to ‘but’ me and I said no, no I'm not speaking to you about it any more.  I'm not speaking to you about...

(Noise of someone slurping a drink)

‘Aaahhhrrrr…’ (makes incoherent noise again, trying to give her impression of Cllr Dowson talking about trying to obtain a grant for the benefit of the town's residents).  I'm not speaking to you about it any more.  And I put the phone down on him.

MD:  Good.  About time you told him to fuck off.



To be continued...

16 December 2014

Tapegate. Part Two: In The Town Clerk’s Office In The Town Of New Mills, The Working Day Starts




Continued from Tapegate Part One:

The council’s sound recorder used for the town council meeting on the evening of 15 April 2013 has not been switched off.  It has recorded all the way through the night, and is still recording.

The following morning at about 09:00 hours, the town hall office door can be heard being unlocked, the chimes of the town hall clock can be heard, and the office computer is switched on etc.

Dramatis personae for Part Two:

Mrs Susan Stevens (Town Clerk of New Mills and Responsible Financial Officer to New Mills Town Council  2002-2013)

Stephen Lewis (The Parks Manager employed by New Mills town council)

Mrs Marie Dudley (Office worker at New Mills town hall)

Paul Miller (Caretaker at New Mills town hall)


At 13 hours 34 mins 36 seconds into the recording, which is just gone nine o'clock in the morning in real time, the new day's conversations start.

SL:  That picnic table thing.

SS: Mmmm

SL:  I've spoken to Ray.  It’ll be thirty pound over.

SS:  Right

SL:  So, he says can you email him or…  I presume he didn't speak to you

SS:  No

SL:  No.  ‘Cos he’s thick as fuck.  He said… would you email ‘em.

SS:  Yeah.

(Keyboard tapping and mouse clicking)

SL:  This whatsit about this climbing thing come

SS:  What’s that?  When?

SL:  Here.

SS:  On email…

(Pause)

SL:  Right bunch of Nazis last night, weren't they.

SS:  Yeah.  Oh and yeah I've got a union rep coming this aft…  this morning.

SL:  Have you?

SS:  Mmmm

SL:  What, Unison?

SS:  Yeah.  (pause)  Fucking evil, Stephen.

SL:  Half the time I don’t even know what they’re on about.

SS:  I don’t think they do.  They were absolutely shocking last night.

(Paul Miller enters)

PM:  Morning.

SS:  There’s going to be an inv…

SL:  Hiya Paul.

SS:  There’s going to be… they’re having an investigation into the disabled access.

SL:  You’re kidding me.  What, to see if it’s there.

SS:  I don’t know what they’re doing.

PM:  So who’s investigating it Susan?

SS:  The Personnel Sub-committee.  But I'm not calling (sic) them.  They can fucking call (sic) themselves.

(PM laughs)

SS:  See how long it takes for them to sort that out.

PM:  See if that’s still hot

SS:  Yeah it’s fine.  Might have sugar in it.

(Pause)

SS:  Just…  I don't know... just mental.  I don’t think… I think they've forgotten that they’re councillors and they’re supposed to be doing things for the town instead of fucking witch-hunting every other bloody person.

PM:  Aye…

(Sound of hot drink being stirred vigorously)

PM:  Thanks Steve.

SS:  I shouted at Lance last… er

PM:  I heard you, I heard you, I heard you.

SL:  When?

SS:  Yesterday

SL:  Oh yesterday

PM:  Oh yesterday?  Oh, I heard you last night.

SS:  Oh did you?

(Both laughing at once)

PM:  Erm… I can’t hear what you’re saying but I can hear your voice.

SS:  Yeah, yeah.  Just awful

PM:  The strangest thing that happened last night as well.  Does Lance smoke?

SS:  Yeah

PM:  Right.  All you guys left and he stood and waited, I was upstairs waiting on the thing to go.

SS:  Yeah

PM:  And all you guys… he waited and had a fag while all you guys left.

SS:  Right

PM:  And then I was upstairs.  He came round the back, full beams on… at the back door.  Snooping around, having a good look.

SS:  At the disabled entrance.

PM  Yeah, yeah

SL:  Who’s that?

SS:  Lance

PM:  He didn't see me at all ‘cos I had the lights off, I was sat… I was just sat on the phone waiting for the …erm… waiting for whad’yecallit…

SS:  The Wives.

(Note:  The New Mills Wives Club)

PM:  The Wives to finish up.  So he was round… I saw… I looked down and I saw him having a fag… (unintelligible) then the next thing you know he’s there… (unintelligible) ‘what the fuck… what’s he doing there…'

(SS and PM laughter)

PM:  So I didn't err…and for the life of me I couldn't think what he was doing.

(MD arrives in the clerk's office)

SS: They’re having an investigation into the disabled entrance.

MD:  You’re joking.

SS:  I've got to ask Mark Dudley of...  Martin Dudley, cos I never mentioned Mark… they need a full breakdown of what got done at the back.

(MD laughs)

(Sound of hot drink being stirred)

MD:  They’re mental aren't they.  Totally mental.



Continued in next article...

14 December 2014

Tapegate. Part One - The Calm Before The Storm



The Tapegate chapter in the saga of the big town hall clean-up of New Mills starts in the town council meeting held on the evening of 15 April 2013.

The dramatis personae are as follows.

Councillors present:

Tony Ashton
Ray Atkins
Andy Bowers
Gwyn Bowers
Janet Carter (in the chair)
Lance Dowson
Jacqui Gadd
Mark Gadd
David Lamb
Alistair Stevens

Other persons present:  The Town Clerk of New Mills and Responsible Financial Officer of New Mills Town Council (2002-2013), Mrs Susan Stevens.

Councillors failing to obey the summons to the council meeting:
Dishonest Ian Huddlestone (Labour Party)
Alan Barrow (Labour Party)


The action starts with Cllr Lance Dowson asking a legitimate if bland question during the previous agenda subject discussion, then Cllr Alistair Stevens says “wanker”.

Cllr Stevens said it in a low voice, but because he happened to be sitting next to the meeting recorder as well as to the town clerk, it is picked up crystal clear.

The sound quality of the recording is remarkable.

For this agenda item, the councillors have in front of them a report.  The report was written for this meeting by the New Mills Town Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer .

The report concerned the process by which an invoice from Kinder Construction has been received at the town hall and paid using public money from the town council’s bank account.

The town clerk leaves the council chamber to go to the office to get the invoice, which some councillors have just asked to see.

At 2 hrs 6 mins 40 seconds on the recording, the invoice is handed to Cllr Janet Carter who is chairing the council meeting, and the main part of Tapegate begins.

Cllr Carter:  “It is an invoice from Kinder Construction.  It’s dated 30th of July 2012. Repairs to rear car park £3,280 plus VAT at 20% bringing it to a total of £3,936.  And then it’s got the VAT number on the invoice, it’s also got the address, telephone, mobile and email.”

Cllr G Bowers:  “Is there no breakdown of what they've done to…”

Cllr Carter:  “No, just got repairs to car park.  Code CAR P”

Cllr Dowson:  “Repairs to car park?”

Cllr Carter:  “Repairs to rear car park.”

Cllr G Bowers:  “I thought it was disabled access?”

(People talking at once)

Cllr Dowson:  “It’s probably the same thing, it’s just that…”

Cllr Stevens:  “Can I propose that we ask Kinder Construction for a full breakdown of the work that was done?”

Cllr Carter:  “I was just going to suggest that.  So can we have a seconder for that please?  All those in favour?”

Cllr Tony Ashton:  “You can ask for that, but what concerns me is the process.  That we waited a few months, it’s got a cone on it, and it suddenly becomes an urgent repair.

“And then, by whatever means, we finish up engaging somebody who’s a relative of a member of staff, to do the job.  Which then escalates into a three thousand pounds plus job.

“None of the members of the council knew anything about it.  And when we came to the last meeting, Welfare and Admin, when it was discussed, I certainly left here under the impression that we’d had three quotes and this has been the cheapest.

“I knew nothing about it escalating and whatever.  And I'm sorry, I just don’t think it’s a satisfactory state of affairs.

“I therefore propose that the matter is referred to the personnel committee.”

Cllr Mark Gadd:  “I’ll second that.”

Cllr Dowson:  “For what?  Investigation?”

Cllr Ashton:  “Discussion.”

“Cllr A Bowers:  “Can I just reiterate what I said before.  That’s why I'm completely and utterly nonplussed.  Because what was said, it’s not been… and I don’t know how we've got where we are.  Going from something that was there for a long time, to being urgent, and obviously, as you know, we've got to be whiter than white.

“One question I've got, who was the two companies who refused to come and give a price?”

Cllr Dowson:  “Well it just says a number of companies, none of them turned up.”

Cllr A Bowers:  “Do we know, through the Chair, who they were?”

Town Clerk of New Mills:  “I haven’t got that information to hand.”

Cllr A Bowers:  “Simply, we've got a builder who was on the committee, he never asked.”

Cllr Dowson:  “Can I just point out, Mark’s just seconded that proposal.”

(People talking at once)

Cllr Carter:  “Okay, I've got a proposal (that) it’s going to the personnel committee.”

(People talking at once)

Mark, I've got a proposal, it’s been seconded, could I have a vote, all those in favour please?”

Cllr A Bowers:  “Sorry, I don’t know what the proposal is, Chair.”

(People talking at once)

Unknown male voice:  “To go to personnel.”

Cllr A Bowers:  “To do what?”

Cllr Carter:  “For discussion.”

Cllr Dowson:  “Investigation.”

Cllr Ashton:  “To discuss it and decide what they want to do with it.”

Cllr Dowson:  “Before you go, can I say that my concern about this (inaudible, due to paper shuffling near the recorder) I started reading this:  ‘The caretaker… demanded…’  Now I'm not funny, and I'm not going to go in (inaudible) whatever, but I didn't know that we had a caretaker who was in a position where he could act like a (clerk) of works…”

Town Clerk of New Mills:  “Lance, LancePeter was very, very unreasonable while I was, while we were, advertising the caretaker job… and the applications were coming in.  I actually did go on holiday while this was going on as well… so…”

Cllr Dowson:  “The caretaker, to me, has not got the authority to shut (inaudible) property.  He demanded…  And he threatened to cancel bookings.”

Cllr Stevens:  “I wouldn't disagree.”

Town Clerk of New Mills:  “Quite rightly, quite rightly.  A lady had fallen and…”

Cllr Carter:  “I think…I think… this is a matter then that’s going to the personnel…"

Cllr Dowson:  “But I'm hearing now that this had been in that state for months.  All I'm saying is I would think that should be…”

Town Clerk of New Mills:  “I wasn't aware of it being in that state for months…”

(People talking at once)

Cllr Carter:  “Okay, right, we've got a proposal to go to the…”

Cllr Dowson:  “I want it recorded, that my opinion as a councillor, is that this was very unwise.  Now I use that terminology, because of things that happened the government came out with the Nolan ten principles of the way that councillors should behave, and one of them is this is unwise, and the reason why is (that) this is too close to town council staff.

“The government’s council rules have to be looked at as ‘how would the public see it?’  And my concern is, it was wrong to do it; it was too close to council staff by using a relative of a member of staff.

“A member of the public looking at it could easily say well that looks a little bit underhand, rightly or wrongly, I'm just saying that, and that’s the Nolan recommendations and we’re supposed to be within those and they’re in the back of your Code of Conduct, they’re all there.

“We should be looking at how the public would see it, proper transparency, and standards in public office.

“And I want it recorded (that) in my opinion, this report does not satisfy that criteria.”

(People talking at once)

Cllr A Bowers:  “Chair, one final point.  Sorry about this, but it is important.  We've been accused, by two members of the public, of non-transparency.  If somebody’s to ask us what’s gone on, before that Welfare and Admin I wouldn't have had a clue what’s been going on.

“That’s not good.  As far as I'm concerned, on my watch I want to know what’s going on when it appertains to council business.  That’s reasonable and fair.  Do you agree?”

Cllr Ashton:  “Yeah.”

Cllr Carter:  “Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.  Quite.  Alistair.

Cllr Dowson:  “It’s the same vein…”

Cllr Stevens:  “Just for clarity… would you suggest that Marie is made aware of all these things?  Because this was sorted and organised, I think in the clerk’s absence.  So…”

(People talking at once)

Cllr Stevens:  “Well it’s Part Two.  I don’t know if it goes outside this room.  That’s what I just want to check.”

Cllr J Gadd:  “I think it probably needs clarifying, because if Sue’s in Unison, the personnel committee are going to investigate it, and Marie is in Unison…”

Town Clerk of New Mills:  “She isn't.”

Cllr J Gadd:  “She isn't… you can’t put a Unison member against another Unison member.”

Cllr Stevens:  “Against?  What do you mean?”

Cllr J Gadd:  “By talking about stuff…”

(People talking at once)

Cllr Stevens:  “That’s what I want to clarify.  If… if… what you’re saying here… I'm not sure exactly what’s being said here, and who’s accusing, and it is tape recorded, so I'm very careful what I'm saying.

“If somebody is saying that Kinder Construction should not have been appointed because the person in the office is a relative of… then should that person not have the opportunity to explain why she appointed them?  And why she got the job done?  Is that what you…”

(People talking at once)

Cllr Carter:  “This is all through… the discussion, the personnel committee…”

Cllr Dowson:  “And let’s be clear.  I'm not accusing anybody.  I'm just saying on the principles of public service it’s unwise…"

Cllr Carter:  “It’s unwise…”

Cllr Dowson:  “Because it’s too close.”

Cllr A Bowers:  “Nobody’s accusing anybody.  But the thing is, if the clerk weren't there, and we've got no other quotes, we've got nothing else, and the deputy appointed somebody… etc etc, to do a job, as Lance said before, from the public’s point of view, we've got to be seen to be doing right.”

Cllr Carter:  “Well I'm sure that the…”

Cllr R Atkins:  “Anyway, it’s going to be investigated…”

(People talking at once)

Cllr Carter:  “It’s going to be investigated, so…”

(People talking at once)

Cllr M Gadd:  “Have we voted on this yet?  I don’t think we have, have we?”

(People talking at once)

Cllr Stevens:  “We haven’t voted, no.”

Cllr Carter:  “Okay.  We've got a proposal… I've got a seconder…”

Town Clerk of New Mills:  “The proposal is, the Personnel Committee discuss this matter.”

Cllr Carter:  “Yes.”

Cllr Dowson:  “I thought you said ‘Investigate’ "

Cllr Carter:  “No, discuss”

Cllr Dowson:  “To discuss and investigate the details…”

Cllr R Atkins:  “And report back to where, and when?”

Cllr Dowson:  “The full council”

Cllr r Atkins:  “Next full council.”

(People talking at once)

Cllr Dowson:  “To discuss, investigate, and report back to the next full council.”

Cllr Carter:  “Right, okay.  Those in favour please? (Pause)  Those against.  (Pause)  And those abstaining.  (Pause)  Thank you very much.”  (The resolution is carried).

Cllr Dowson:  “What is the relationship?  Is it cousin?  Brother?”

Cllr Carter:  “No idea”

Town clerk of New Mills:  “Father-in-law.”

(People talking at once, as the meeting concludes and councillors leave the council chamber.)

When everyone else is gone, Cllr Alistair Stevens starts unburdening himself as he and a female are both left alone in the council chamber after the meeting.

Cllr Stevens:  “Do you know what disappoints me?  Massively.”

“What’s that?”

Cllr Stevens:  “That people listen to him as though he knows what he’s talking about.”

“Yeah”

Cllr Stevens:  “Absolute garbage, half of what he says. It’s absolute garbage.”

“Yeah”

Cllr Stevens:  “Anyway, Sue’s seeing the Union rep tomorrow.  Taking the council…” (stops abruptly)

“Yeah”

Cllr Stevens:  “I tell you now.  I've had this for six years now.”

“Yeah”

Cllr Stevens:  “Six years.  Constant drip drip drip.   Can’t believe… the job she… have you seen those papers?   That she has to try and do… with zero help from in here.”

“Yeah, I can sympathise completely.  Alistair…”

Cllr Stevens:  “She had two guys here, come and check their accounts… this week.  Said it’s an absolute pleasure to come here.  Everywhere they go, the accounts are in total disarray.”

“Mmmm”

Cllr Stevens:  “They can’t even look at them and begin to get them.  And for ten years now… internal audit.  External audit…”

“All come fine.”

Cllr Stevens:  “And it’s constant drip, drip, drip.  From one… two… three… here.  They’re pathetic.  I know exactly what they want.  They just…treat her like a councillor that they don’t like.  Not somebody who’s trying to do a job.”

“Yeah”

Cllr Stevens:  “I tell you, she’s…”

“It’s difficult, I know…”

Cllr Stevens:  “Pathetic…”

“Yeah I know.  I'm not rocking any boats Alistair…”

Cllr Stevens:  “They’ll end up, with a clerk that won’t come into work, and do what Steven Lewis did and have twelve months off… on full pay."

Voices fade into distance as they leave the council chamber.


Next part to follow shortly.  In which the start of the working day in the town council offices of New Mills is documented in the participants' own voices.


--------------------------------



Note:  There is no suggestion that Kinder Construction have done anything wrong in coming to do this work when they were requested to, or that the standard of the finished job was of anything less than a good quality.