Seeing Red is my regular column in The Isle of Thanet News. This opinion piece was first published on June 9, 2022.
This departure has been a very long time coming. Thanet council CEO Madeline Homer has been clinging on to her role by her fragile finger tips for quite some time now. The continued employment of a failing, third rate, lack lustre, chief executive has been at our expense. All of us. We have all paid the price.
Homer bought nothing to Thanet District Council table. Nada. Zilch. Zero. There was no vision, no executive acumen, no dynamism. Usually a Chief Executive, at least levers in external knowledge, has a view on what the future looks like and vitally, how to work towards it, and importantly is possessed of a positive self-critical self-awareness.
A good CE positively wants to deliver better public services and to lead a fully functioning district council working collegiately with the elected members. Because that is the job. We pay her wages and in return, for an undoubted generous package, we rightly expected our streets cleaned, a positive, focused senior management team, strategies developed and implemented for the future growth of all our towns. We all should want flourishing seaside towns.
What did we get? A person accused of bullying. A dysfunctional top team that cost the rate payer dear. A lack of strategic direction and at the end a palpable inability to do anything than to look after herself.
It’s time now to look to the future. Thanet has an array of natural assets that we must protect and make the most of. Our shoreline, sea, beaches and towns are astounding.
Thanet has an amazing asset base. Like the Granville Theatre and the Winter Gardens, which we shouldn’t sell off. We need to invest in them for job and wealth creation in Thanet for Thanet.
Thanet has fantastic, talented people, who we also must protect and make the most of. We can’t fail as a place, with the talent and ambition that we are actually awash with. What we want and need is a top flight CE and a premium team to form and run a driven, well managed, visionary and ambitious district council.
I want to see a CE who will fight for better provision and training opportunities for our young people. One who will throw her – or his – weight behind a coherent local plan, which includes providing affordable homes as a top priority. One who will not be satisfied with managed decline and meagre funding scraps from a government hell bent on stripping funding out of the municipal world.
In short I want flair. I want ambition. I want experience. More than this I want visibility and accountability! No more hiding away in the council offices.
It’s a shame it has cost us. The rumours are £300k to convince a lame duck to waddle off? Money well spent if it means we can turn the page and start a fresh chapter.
Let’s make Thanet better.