Homer Simpson For Leader?

Opposition criticism of Labour group's handling of the rubbish fiasco

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Ealing Councillors Talk Rubbish ...in Kent

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Ealing Council has been likened to Homer Simpson following last night's packed special meeting about the borough's rubbish fiasco.

It was called by the Conservative group after residents suffered a multitude of problems with waste collection caused by the contract changing hands from May Gurney to Enterprise at the beginning of April.

Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Gary Malcolm handed in a petition and called for a full review of what went wrong. He said:

"It is a sad day that Ealing Council cannot even organise the proper collection of residents' household waste and recyclables. Rather than admit its failings and agree to a review of what went wrong it has taken the 'bury your head in the sand' approach. Liberal Democrats believe that Ealing Council could have done so many things differently that it has been made to look like April fools!"

Read his blog in full here

Meanwhile Conservative Councillor, Colm Costello, said Labour knew that Enterprise would not be ready from day one but didn't tell anyone.

He queried whether the cartoon character, Homer Simpson, could do a better job than the current ruling group.

He said: '' Even Homer Simpson took the wrap when he took over the rubbish collection contract in Springfield and ran it into the ground, something Ealing Labour failed to do tonight.'

Read more (and see Homer in action) here

The Conservative Group Leader, Councillor David Millican said it took the Conservatives years to turn Ealing's waste collection into a first class service and, he added, after just six weeks, the ruling group have turned it into a 'rubbish service'.

Cllr Millican is placing the blame on Cabinet member Cllr Bassam Mahfouz and believes he should resign:

'' Last night a long list of Conservative Councillors lined up to ask Cllr Bassam Mahfouz:

What will he do to rebuild the trust of residents to continue recycling, when they see it all being mixed in the same refuse lorry?

Why he had no oversight, during the full 8 months lead up to the start of the contract, to ensure that it was ready?

Why he was still negotiating with the unions right up to day the contract started, such that the staff were still being trained when they should have been out collecting?

Why he has yet to speak with the Chief Executive of Enterprise PLC to express his concerns?.

Why he won’t compensate the people of the borough for the appalling service he has inflicted upon them?

Cllr Mahfouz refuses to face up to his responsibilities. It is time for him to go.''

In a statement Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for Transport and Environment said:

"I would like to apologise residents who experienced problems with refuse and recycling collections in the first few weeks of the new contract.

'' Despite considerable effort to ensure a smooth handover the service was unacceptable and for this I am very sorry.

''We have told Enterprise that we expect the normal high standard of service to be met and maintained. The service has improved week on week and we will continue to monitor the contract very closely and raise any issues on a daily basis. I would like to reassure residents that everything they put out for recycling will be recycled.''



Were you at the meeting - What do you think?

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9th May 2012