Unconfirmed as yet, but my little birds are whispering to me that Southend’s Cllr Martin Terry (IND – Thorpe) has left his cabinet post of portfolio holder for Public Protection, Waste & Transport, to be replaced by Cllr Mike Assenheim (IND – Shoeburyness).
There are a number of things that could be behind this.
Firstly, regular readers will recall that in the not too distant past Cllr Assenheim replaced Cllr Terry as the leader of the Independent
Party Group. Now, what this means in practice is unclear, given that Cllr Ron Woodley (IND – Thorpe) is the leader of the council and the real power behind all things Independent in Southend, but given that his people management skills have left his troops on the verge of mutiny more than once, it’s possible that the “group leader” role is more a case of mediation, and Cllr Assenheim’s interpersonal skills were deemed more effective than Cllr Terry’s.
The other possibility is that Cllr Terry just wasn’t doing that good a job. He has, I have noticed, a tendency to keep digging when he finds himself in a hole, as evidenced by his absurd slanging match with Cllr James Courtenay (CON – Blenheim Park) at the last round of scrutiny meetings. At one point it looked set for fisticuffs. My little birds tell me that Cllr Woodley’s latest edict has been that cabinet members should keep schtum, in an effort to stop Cllr Terry getting himself into more trouble. Perhaps he has decided that simply removing Cllr Terry from the podium is the more effective solution, and Cllr Assenheim is probably the next most competent of the Independent
The final possibility that occurs to me, is that Cllr Terry might have stepped down voluntarily from the role in order to focus on
losing fighting the upcoming Police & Crime Commissioner election. In which case best of luck to him…
Of course, as I said at the start, I have not yet managed to verify this independently (Pun not intended -Ed), so it may well just be the rumour mill working overtime. I’ll bring more details as they emerge.
UPDATE: Confusion reigns. Cllr Terry is denying the lot (“Well he would say that, wouldn’t he?” -Ed), but my little birds are very strongly sticking to their story. Still developing.