From RikiLeaks inbox – RMBC playing unprofessional games?

The RikiLeaks inbox contained this little missive, to none other than Martin Kimber, complaining about the thoroughly unprofessional conduct of senior members of the officer force.

I reproduce it as it was received:

Mr M Kimber   CEO
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
Doncaster Gate
Rotherham S65 1DJ

24th September 2011

Dear Sir,

I wish to make a formal complaint regarding the action of Tom Sweetman, Media spokesperson for Rotherham Borough Council.

During recent consultations, Mr Sweetman has  invited himself into the homes of members of the Save Our Greenbelt Campaign Group.
He has discussed details of his private life at length with some members, this is totally unprofessional and he has used his situation to garner sympathy and manipulate Senior Member of the Group, to the point that they were asked to report activities of the group, directly to him, please read enclosed email communication.
At the consultation session at Masbrough Community Centre, Mr Sweetman was observed again approaching a different Senior Members of the Group, inviting himself to the gentleman’s home for a cup of tea, so he could discuss ‘in private’ the  plans to develop  Bassingthorpe Farm , giving his  email and telephone contact details. When I challenged him that this was inappropriate behaviour, he was belligerent and annoyed.
I rang Mr Sweetman, the following morning and asked that he refrain from approaching people who have every legal right to oppose and voice their objections regarding the Councils proposed plans and that inviting himself into people’s homes was a form of harassment and bullying.
Within minutes Mr Sweetman had emailed the two Senior Members of our group to inform them of our conversation and in fact had embellished our conversation and complained about the fact I had phoned him. The gentleman he emailed then rang our Chairperson insisting that I was rebuked for my actions. The Chairperson congratulated me for alerting him to the duplicity of Mr Sweetman’s actions and concerns we had about his involvement with these members.
At the Arts Centre consultation on the following Wednesday, Mr Sweetman approached me and asked if he could speak with me and insisted we left the room. He asked me what he could say to me to persuade me to ’come on board’ and refrain from objecting to the plans. This is totally unacceptable, it is outside of his position as a Media person for the Council, it is a form of harassment.
I and the citizens of Rotherham have every legal right to object and raise concerns. I must ask the question, is this, a consultation for the people of Rotherham, or is this, a complete sham by RMBC, who have no real intention of listening to the people as previous evidence would suggest.
I had printed off the email one of our Senior Members had sent to Mr Sweetman, within an hour of our AGM on the previous Sunday evening. I was unaware of this email until Tuesday after my phone call. I gave the email to him to read and asked him to please explain. Mr Sweetman could not answer
I informed him that I would be making a formal complaint to you, the Chief Executive, regarding his manipulative activities and went back into the meeting room.
Mr Sweetman and the couple he had, and I use this word with some irony,’ befriended’ left the Arts Centre.
I and the Save Our Greenbelt Action Groups, believe that the Strategic Planning Team and in particular Karl Battersby, have purposely infiltrated our group and we have further evidence to support this claim. We are not , at this point, prepared to divulge our evidence, until we have received further advice.
I will expect a letter of confirmation that you have received my letter of complaint, within 5 working days and expect a full written response to my complaint within 28 days.

Yours Sincerely

Thanks to our source for this.

I have actually seen most, if not all, of the correspondence referred to in this letter of complaint and it seems to me that the evidence does lead to the inevitable conclusion that the author, at the very least has a point worth making!

These two questions below would appear to be somewhat problematic for them to answer and may expose enough of their modus operandi, to ensure that future campaigns remain truly independent and are not deliberately infiltrated in the future. I quote:

‘At the Arts Centre consultation on the following Wednesday, Mr Sweetman approached me and asked if he could speak with me and insisted we left the room. He asked me what he could say to me to persuade me to ’come on board’ and refrain from objecting to the plans.’

‘I and the Save Our Greenbelt Action Groups, believe that the Strategic Planning Team and in particular Karl Battersby, have purposely infiltrated our group and we have further evidence to support this claim.’

The responses should make interesting reading, if anyone would oblige RikiLeaks , when available.

Nearly forgot, the cabinet member with responsibility for this? Why, it’s our old friend, Gerald Smith!

Rik

5 thoughts on “From RikiLeaks inbox – RMBC playing unprofessional games?

  1. Now this precisely characterises, yet again, the nasty deviousness of Rotherham Council – similar situations to this have occurred numerous times over the years and there are fortunately a growing number of councillors, who have become aware of the tactics of senior staff.

    Unfortunately however, the toxic salaried lickspittles at senior management level, are still managing to keep their task masters in post and thereby themselves in the luxury to which they have become accustomed. But what a delight that someone has had the guts to put a letter like this in the public domain.

    By the way, we’re having a sweepstake to predict the clichés that Kimber will regurgitate in his response to the complaint – please append your suggestions hereto.

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  2. Will you be able to post the evidence once the matter has been dealt with as the letter is a little vague. If I were Mr Kimber I would refrain from responding in full at this stage due to the fact there is further evidence.

    For example was the topic of his private life relevant to the person he was addressing? Were any plans discussed that have not yet been disclosed publicly?

    Speaking in smaller groups is often more productive than ‘committee’ style meetings. A chance to establish individual objections and discuss possible ways to overcome them.

    The above letter seems somewhat flimsy, at points it sounds like the author is jelous that Tom is meeting the authors ‘friends’.

    If the author believes the public of Rotherham have a right to raise concern I would ask that he or she is transparent and share their evidence. At this stage it looks to the layman as more of an attempt to smear the ‘oppositions’ reputation.

    I am passionate about the goals of the SOGAG and hope they don’t loose public support by handling this matter incorrectly.

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    • I will be posting the relevant emails just as soon as I am sure that I have a complete set!
      Thanks for your comment Chris, from my pre publication investigations that your later comments do not in fact apply you may be reassured.

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      • Thank you for your reply Rik, I didn’t think that would be the case but without conclusive evidence I like to look at anything like this objectively.

        I work in marketing myself so tried to put myself in Tom’s position, on reflection, thank god I work in the private sector!

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  3. Having personally encountered the dreadful antics of RMBC Officers and a certain Cabinet Clown with the Hellaby Supertram Fiasco and the Bramley Village Traffic Mismanagement Scheme, I am of the opinion that RMBC’s reputation cannot become more smearier, you just can’t discolour it more than it already is, it may absorb more stains, but it will not become more smearier.

    I too wish the Save Our Greenbelt citizens the very best of luck and every success in their desire to challenge and scrutinise Elected Members and Officers with their impish little plans.

    Stick together citizens.

    Don’t let RMBC try by whatever means to divide and rule you.

    And RMBC ought to remember this – they only win when their opponents admit defeat. Bramley and Wickersley citizens are still challenging RMBC 10 years on.

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