Joe Anderson – A comment too far

We all make mistakes and I include myself in that statement. I always find that the best thing to do when you have made a mistake is to admit it – apologise – and move on. Not doing so damages relationships and damages the ability to work with others. That is no good for anyone. So here’s my mistake.

On the Saturday before the election I was out with colleagues in and around our HQ in Greenbank Ward. We were approached by 5/6 local residents with whom we had no political affiliation who told us not only that the streets had been swept for the first time in living memory on a Saturday but also that they had been told that it was because there was an election on.

As you might guess that made me angry. Although I did not issue a press release or blog about it I did mention it to a journalist when he rang me about other matters. I made clear that if this was indeed the case it would be a major breach of priority and abuse of power.

Subsequently I found out that although the Mayor had been involved in discussions with the contractors concerned but they were over a wider concern that a city-wide contract which was approximately one year old was not being properly delivered properly and that the streets were not in the condition that they should be.

It is, of course absolutely right and proper that the Mayor should make his viewpoint known on such issues and try to ensure that contracts are properly delivered. Indeed the Mayor is still working on this matter and has issued a Youtube video to that effect recently. The contractor had indeed decided to act but they decided which areas to choose for remedial action and when it should be done and not the Mayor or any officer of the Council.

Having been told by officers that this was the case I should have contacted the journalists (another one subsequently contacted me) to say what I had been told and that my enquiries had shown that the actions of the Mayor were fit and proper and the decision to work in Greenbank had not been his. I can make the excuse that I was tired and that it was election week and that excuse would be true but is not good enough. I should have corrected the impression that I made.

So I apologise unreservedly to the Mayor for leaving extant the impression that he had abused his powers. I accept that he has acted in good faith throughout in trying to get value for money for the City. I hope that this apology will be accepted in the spirit in which it was offered so that we can continue to work together, where possible and appropriate, for the good of the city.

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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