Trouble and Strife at the Top of Barnsley Council – Hope it’s not catching?

Readers may have missed this story in the Yorkshire Post?

£32,000 for council’s chief to leave his post without working notice

Published on Monday 19 March 2012 09:55

THE former chief executive of a Yorkshire council was paid more than £32,000 to leave with immediate effect rather than work out his notice.

Phil Coppard, who had worked for 36 years at Barnsley Council, is believed to have been forced from his post following a dispute with the ruling Labour group about how the authority should make £24m of cuts.

The Yorkshire Post has learned that Mr Coppard was given three months salary worth £32,848 when he left in January, despite offering to work his notice period. It is also understood he will have his pension paid until March 2013. Read on………

Disagreements all round it would seem? Hope there are no more South Yorkshire Councils, where the Leader has lost confidence in the Chief Executive?

Loss of confidence in this context, almost always means the Chief Executive won’t be bullied into something they know shouldn’t do, but the Leader wants them to do it anyway!

Bullied by the Boss: Website and Twitter feed.

Vote Dave Smith – Independent Candidate Dinnington Ward

I thought I would let you know that I am now an official independent candidate in the Rotherham Borough council elections, standing for the Dinnington Ward.

My Labour Party opponent will be none other than Simon, I have a turnip named after me, Tweed.  Labour have already been delivering leaflets around the area and I thought I would share a part of it with you:

“Following a strong campaign by your three Labour councillors and local residents we shall shortly see the long awaited extension of the traffic island on the approach to the mini roundabout at the junction of Knavesmire avenue. As a result of this campaign the improvements will RESTRICT THE ABILITY TO DRIVE THE WRONG WAY AROUND THE ROUNDABOUT.”

All the things that are happening to the people of our area and this is Labours’ main bragging point, the other being the iconic, their word not mine, Riverside House.  The expensive development for the councillors.

Anyway I digress, I would ask that if there are people out there who are willing to assist me in my endeavours I would be happy to see them at my first street meeting in Dinnington.  It will be held next Friday near the indoor market at 10:30am.

It would great if we could make a push and finally unseat at least one Labour councillor from Dinnington, those of you who can’t help, I hope you will vote.

Dave Smith

Mrs Overall’s Acorn Antiques 19 March 2012


Little comedy  – just gloom
Read and despair

Finance Meeting
Last Meeting of the Financial Year:

Councillor Thornton asked if the budget was over or underspent
Computer says aka (The Clerk, Michael Gazur) Don’t Noooooooooooooooooooo

Joyce Brindley also known to us as Poison Ivy-  Asking whose turn it was to do the audit checks
Q   Was this a loaded question
A    Of course
Q   Why
A   Because Councillor Thornton refuses to do the audit check, having asked on numerous
occasions for a breakdown of transfer of monies, between the Charity and the Parish
Q   Did she trip up
A   Oh yes, she ensnared the “illustrious” chairman who never does an audit check!
Q   Was a vote taken to adjourn the meeting
A    Don’t be ridiculous
Q   Did she declare the items for which this meeting was adjourned
A   Don’t be silly
Q   Was a vote taken to put items into secret session
A   Don’t be so very silly


Chairman Ireland opens the meeting with more obfuscation e.g.
Regarding the guest speaker from Groundwork who had been invited to talk about litter picks (child labour!)  A councillor asked who invited this lady.
The chairman replied “We invited her at the last Parish Council Meeting”
WHAT A WHOPPER! – Councillor Dalton invited the lady unbeknown to the clerk or the chairman or indeed councillors.
Q   Does the chairman know which end of him is up?
A   No but he knows where the Trooper is!

Skate Park
In Attendance – School boys of the local area who are users of the Skate Park.
They attended to bring their observations to the attention of the Parish Council of the poor and unsafe condition of the Skate Park.

An eloquent young skate boarder pointed out that rivets were sticking out of the ramps and this was dangerous.  Also the mud on the tarmac was a danger.
After all the normal excuses the Chairman invited the boys to attend the inspection of the Skate Park on a week day i.e. school day!
Q   Is it the Chairman’s policy or that of the Parish Council to encourage truancy?
A   Looks like it

Mrs Wallhead – Who has been campaigning for this Skate Park for many years and is now campaigning for it’s safety, asked:
Q  Have any of the councillors been to look at other skate parks
A  In jumps Iain St.John “Yes is the short answer,
I was cabinet member for skate parks etc., The major problem with skate parks maybe     the day to day use.  What you are wanting is something like Clifton Park we think or   Maltby.”

The eloquent young skate boarder replied:  “The point is we have got other skate parks round the area.  We are not asking for these amazing skate parks  “WE JUST WANT THIS TO BE SAFE.  IT IS TOO DANGEROUS FOR US TO USE.”
At this point the whole of the public applauded this eloquent and perfectly controlled young man and called Hear Hear

Minutes of Parish Council Meeting 20 February 2012
Untrue recording of above Minutes:
Now for the truth (a foreign land to many Anston Parish Councillors)
Q   Was Councillor Thornton evicted from the previous parish council meeting 20 February
A   Yes
Q   Did the Minutes record the events truthfully
A    No
Q   Did the Chairman take a vote to evict Cllr Thornton
A   Yes TWICE!
Q   Why twice
A   Because the Chairman made a Bugger’s Muddle of this
Q   Was he complying with Standing Orders
A   NO

A proposal was made to amend the Minutes to record the true events
This was put to the vote
RESULT  –  7 Abstentions    1 For    6 Against

NOTE:  The 6 Against  – These had been present at the 20 February meeting and therefore knew that the events recorded in the minutes were untrue!
Q   Is it acceptable for councillors to cover up and lie
A   NO certainly not

However untrue recording of minutes amounts, at Anston Parish Council to:
Record not what took place but what you would have liked to have taken place.

Hey here comes Boy Wonder giving us his wisdom – convoluted though it is!

The Chesterfield Canal Trust

Q   Why did Staveley Town Council  write to request Anston Parish Council to grant monies
to The Chesterfield Canal Trust?
A   Surely the Chesterfield Canal Trust should write on their own behalf?
Q   Why did Boy Wonder press so hard for this grant
A   Surely not to impress the Chairman of the Chesterfield Canal Trust (Robin Stonebridge)
Q   Did Boy Wonder speak against donating to our own stretch of canal
A   Yes – it is a linked up project  (Clang – medal struck for stating the b……g obvious)
Q  Later did he report that 3 areas, including Rotherham had donated to their own stretch of the Canal
A   Yes he did – Well let’s have it straight Boy Wonder  (Clang – another medal struck)

10i  Agenda Item -To discuss bullying of Councillors

Q   At the previous month’s meeting, did Cllr St.John accuse another councillor of bullying
A   Yes
Q   Did Cllr St.John make a complaint about bullying to the Standards Committee
A   No
Q   Did Cllr St.John make this accusation for effect
A   Of course – He can’t resist being on a stage
Q   Did the accused councillor read out a statement in order to prevent himself being
evicted once more
A   Yes
Q   Why were Poison Ivy and Boy Wonder sitting smirking with each other
A   Obviously they think bullying is funny but then Poison Ivy does have a certain record

10ii Agenda Item – To discuss Councillor Thornton being evicted from the previous council meeting

Q   Why did the chairman strike this item off the agenda
A    Too near the knuckle
Q   Did the chairman allow any discussion
A   None whatsoever
Q   What powers was he acting under
A   Maybe he will let us know – when he finds out!
Q   Did Cllr Thornton stand to make a point of order
A   Yes
Q  Why was Boy Wonder jabbing his finger at Cllr Thornton saying “You need to state the
rules, You need to state the rules”
A   Because he is infantile
Q   Why did Poison Ivy stand to show a copy of Councils Direct regarding bullying
A   Who knows why, this from a councillor who has assaulted another member 3 times
At this point Robin Stonebridge said to Cllr Thornton this is a platform for your paranoid fantasies – the tone of which can be imagined.

10iii Agenda Item To discuss the position of RMBC Members in relation to their role as Anston Parish Council Members.

This item was withdrawn due to the councillor not being given a fair chance to speak
At this point Cllr Stonebridge came in again and said “YOU ARE A WASTE OF LIFE”
The reaction from the public was one of understandable horror.

The meeting then descended into chaos with Poison Ivy shouting Shut UP to Cllr Thornton. Poison Ivy then turned her spleen on a member of the public and said in a threatening manner “I will see you later”
Outside in the playground –
Behind the bike shed –
I am not that childish   –
Well you could have fooled us all, firstly she is striking councillors, then making untrue remarks, in a meeting, re a member of the public’s personal life and now issuing threats to a member of the public.
No wonder the meeting was in uproar

The young skate boarding spokesman knew how to handle himself with maturity beyond his years –
He and his friends must certainly have been appalled at what they observed from certain councillors.

This Parish Council has plumbed the depths – it is an utter farce – is not fit for purpose – spends our money wantonly and should be disbanded immediately.

This type of base behaviour is not acceptable in any way to the people of Anston.


Goodnight All
Mrs Overall

Eight more interesting questions


Further to the information provided to me in relation to RMBC statutory vehicle, BMW saloon reg no YM08DZP, I have scrutinised the document Car Mileage0001[1].pdf and I have the following questions which I wish to put to you and to which I require you to provide me with further information –

Log Entry No 19723 – 12.03.2012
This entry shows the vehicle was deployed from its depot at 0330 hrs to Kilnhurst (where I believe Cllr Stone lives) to pick up the Leader, Cllr Stone, and then onto 160 Agbrigg Road, Wakefield WF1 5BY to collect Cllr Olivia Marie Rowley, of Wakefield MDC, and then onto Manchester Airport, returning back to its depot at 0730 hrs.

Question 1 – Who within RMBC, and in what function, authorised and approved the RMBC vehicle to deploy to another Council area to collect Cllr Olivia Marie Rowley, of Wakefield MDC?

Question 2 – Will RMBC be seeking to recover partial fuel costs reimbursement and driver staff costs reimbursement from Wakefield MDC? And if not, please explain why not.

Question 3 – Is it standard operating practice for an RMBC statutory vehicle, paid for and provided by Rotherham taxpayers for the use of RMBC Elected Members and/or Officers, to be at the disposal of other Council’s Elected Members and/or Officers in other Authorities?

Question 4 – Please provide specific details of the flight destination, flight number, reason for air travel, accommodation venue, and specific details of the nature of the visit on which Cllr Roger Stone was engaged.

Question 5 – What was the cost of Cllr Roger Stone’s air travel and accommodation costs? Please supply an itemised breakdown, including any drinks, meals, supplementaries etc.

Question 6 – Did RMBC, via its ratepayers, pay for the costs of Cllr Stone’s air travel and accommodation costs?

Question 7 – Did RMBC, via its ratepayers, pay for the costs of Wakefield MDC Cllr Olivia Marie Rowley’s air travel and accommodation costs?

Question 8 – Please provide copies of any hospitality declarations by Cllr Roger Stone in relation to this particular visit.

Please supply your responses to the above questions in electronic format and in as timely a manner as possible.

Yours Sincerely,

Donald H. Buxton

Has Roger Stone more explaining to do?


As an active and empowered Rotherham citizen who takes an interest in scrutinising the costs and activities of those who perform public functions in a public office I wish to raise the following concerns with you.

For your information I have attached three PDF documents about which I have important questions and to which I require you to provide me with explanations:

Document 1.  2012.02.08_R_of_I_-_Cllr_Stone.pdf

Obtained from the RMBC website –

Document 2.  Appendix_-_Gifts_and_Hospitality_-_Cr._R._Stone.pdf

Obtained from the RMBC website –

Document 3.  TR_Dec-Feb_print01.pdf

R.U.F.C. Community Sports Trust
Quarterly Trustees Report, December 2011 – February 2012
Registered Charity No. 1123692  Company No. 6451012

Question 1 – By downloading this PDF document – 2012.02.08_R_of_I_-_Cllr_Stone.pdf – it is apparent that the document was probably created by RMBC on 2012.02.08 which may infer that this document is the most up-to-date RMBC Register of Interests for R. Stone, although the document has been signed by “R. Stone” and “R.Waller” and both dated ”25/07/11″. .

Please confirm whether or not this document is the most up-to-date provided by those named, or whether RMBC has failed to display up-to-date information provided to it by those signatories.

Question 2 – Also confirm whether or not a breach of the Code of Conduct referred to at the bottom of the document has taken place by R. Stone in apparently failing to bring up to date information which is displayed in the document or apparently failing to register an interest which should be declared which is acquired after the date of this document.

Question 3 – By referring to PDF document 3 – TR_Dec-Feb_print01.pdf – you will see that this is the Quarterly Trustees Report, December 2011 – February 2012 for R.U.F.C. Community Sports Trust and on the organisational chart on p3 you will see that a “Cllr Roger Stone Trustee” is listed there.

Please explain to me why the RMBC Register of Interests for Cllr Roger Stone obtained from the RMBC website and referred to above does not show this particular interest?

Question 4 – By referring to PDF document 2 -Appendix_-_Gifts_and_Hospitality_-_Cr._R._Stone.pdf – this document only shows “Hospitality Received by Leader 2009″ and  “Hospitality Received by Leader 2010″.

Please confirm whether or not this document is the most up-to-date, and if not, whether any breach of Code of Conduct has occurred or whether RMBC has failed to display up-to-date information provided to it by an Elected Member.

Please supply your response to me in electronic format via this e-mail link and in a prompt and timely manner.
Yours Sincerely,

Donald H. Buxton

Roger Stone’s Chagrin – The whole tawdry saga in one place!

This story of the leader’s hubris started with an initial enquiry, followed by more as it became obvious that the story was incomplete and rapidly unravelled….

Private Car Parked On Footpath Outside Town Hall 2012.03.07

Posted on March 8, 2012 by

Dear chief executive,

Yesterday afternoon 2012.03.07 at 1545 hrs I unfortunately had occasion to visit Rotherham town centre in my own car on personal business.Read on…..

One rule for Roger Stone, quite another for the rest of us! What do you think?

Posted on March 9, 2012 by

Dear Mr Battersby,

Thank for your comprehensive and prompt reply to my query.

I must confess to my sadness and disappointment, but not to surprise, at an RMBC Council Leader Read on……

Battersby provides more answers. Have we the full picture yet?

Posted on March 12, 2012 by

Dear Rotherham Active and Empowered Citizens,

Now we have further strategic clarification from almost-the-very-top of RMBC that Da Dodger was engaged in verge edge grass cutting, refuse collection, street cleansing or highways maintenance, to justify parking their executive Beemer on the paved pedestrian area outside Town Hall Towers. Read on…..

Don Buxton probes further – Statutory Vehicle YM08 DZP

Posted on March 15, 2012 by

Dear Further to the attached information earlier supplied in which your subordinate employee confirms that the black coloured BMW saloon YM08 DZP is a “statutory RMBC vehicle”, which is therefore no doubt funded by Rotherham community charge payers, I … Continue reading →

Further probe bears fruit!

Posted on March 19, 2012 by

Don Buxton shares this latest exchange of correspondence: Dear Thank you for the information lately supplied by your subordinate employee in response to my earlier request to you to supply further statutory information relating to a motor vehicle parked … Continue reading →

……and ended with us learning a great deal about the way the Council is being run by those who should know better!

Deception was the initial stratagem deployed by Karl Battersby replying, under instruction from Martin Kimber, to Don’s initial request for information. If this was bad enough, undeterred, they came up with a second excuse that wouldn’t hold water but at the same time Roger Stone it would appear was forced to accept no legal justification could be found and Karl Battersby admitting defeat, responded thus:

“I can also confirm that in future the vehicle will not be parked on the pavement outside the Town Hall when not in use.”

Victory of sorts then for Don Buxton’s dogged persistence, over the most arrogant and dictatorial Leader Rotherham has had to date coupled with an over compliant officer force!

Anston Parish Council, Monday 19th March – Reactions!

Dear Rotherham Politics readers,

Chairman John Ireland thinks it a waste of his time to check a yearly internal audit of Parish Council finances does he?  I suppose that’s because if a meeting lasts beyond 9.30pm the Trooper is calling too loudly to ignore.

As for Councillor Stonebridge how dare he call a fellow member of the council a waste of life.  The councillor he was talking to has served his country for many years as a member of the armed forces.  What has Councillor Stonebridge done for his community let alone his country that gives him the right to say that to anyone.

I am disgusted.

Mrs Pat Botham
Chair Anston New Estate TARA

Dear Rotherham Politics readers,

Councillor Stonebridge must have a very short memory.  Has he forgotten his previous bullying and arrogant behaviour whilst he was trying to intimidate myself and other members of the public?  This lead to him having to resign.

His behaviour on Monday 19 March, was abominable. He said to Councillor Thornton that he was using the Parish Council for his paranoid fantasies and that he was a waste of life.   This to a retired member of HM Armed Forces who put his life at the disposal of this country whilst on active service.
In the past had it not been for people like Councillor Thornton, Councillor Stonebridge would not be free to make his shockingly evil remarks.

It appears he had learned no lessons.  It is my opinion he should now resign once more.  Surely the hierarchy of the Labour Party will have some opinion on the unsavoury behaviour of this obnoxious, undisciplined and overbearing bully who is yet again bringing the Labour Party into disrepute.

Valerie Sheldon-Ennis
Shop Steward, TGWU (Retired)

See: Why did Robin Stonebridge resign in 2007 exactly?

Anston ‘Comedy Club’ – the Robin Stonebridge, “pathetic and a waste of a life” edition!

My monthly sojourn, along with that finest of hecklers Mr Lewis, to the Anston comedy club did not disappoint.  The only member of the cast who was once again missing, was the amazing quick change artiste Turn Coat Hughes.  This was a little disappointing because one of de brethren had turned up.

The proceedings started slowly with a visit from some young people complaining how dangerous the second hand skate boarding park was. For a while this animated the performers, with Sin-Jin reminiscing about his time in the cabinet.  One can only presume he meant the drinks cabinet.

The impersonating chairman rapped up this part of the show by encouraging one of the youngsters to have time off school.  This was so he could meet with that mythical character THE EXPERT.

When pressed further on this matter he said it was not the councils responsibility but the charity’s.  When asked the vexed question who is the charity, he replied the parish council; but when they are the charity they wear different hats.  A quick perusal of the performers revealed they were not wearing hats.  But I put this down to the fact they had all taken lesson from that quick change artiste of renown Turn Coat Hughes.

One of the interesting things about this comedy club audience is the sister hood. They are never deflected from their objective by the impersonating chairman, Sin-Jin or the young pretender Gobby Beck.

Even the parish clerk, Gazur, we are not sure whether he is the one who played football for England; got in on the act.  He had a heated discussion with a member of the sisterhood, telling her a council employee had been to her house.  This was vehemently denied by the sister, but of course Gazur knew best and began lambasting this member of the public.

The impersonating chairman sat by and said nothing, at this juncture that fine heckler, Mr Lewis, told the chairman that the clerk was there to advise not to perform.  Sin-Jin, the Dumbo impersonator, brought forth raucous laughter from the audience; when he said this should not be an argument between the audience and the comedians.  What does he imagine the audience visits the comedy club for?

The queen of comedy, councillor Dalton took to the floor, her act consisted of her telling us the naughty government had taken money from the borough council.  They therefore want to re-instate slave labour and the exploitation of children by getting them litter picking.

I was annoyed with her because this diva of comedy had plagiarised one of the Dinnington ugly sisters act, that she had performed the week before at the Bland comedy club.  There was very little of the received chant going on tonight.  However one letter had Gobby Beck spouting about giving money to The Chesterfield canal partnership, when he couldn’t win this he suggested a letter be sent; stating in principle we support the principles.

We have now arrived at the main event of the evening, this is where the councillors turn on councillor Thornton.  He brought up the subject of the bullying councillors and also the methods used to evict him from last months show.

The chairman impersonator, for reasons best known to himself, read with a flourish the Oxford dictionary definition of bullying.  Is there no end to this man’s talents.  When councillor Thornton got to his feet to read his script, ‘I can shout and insult any one I want Stonebridge’; told him he was a paranoid fantasist.  This guy has been reading too many books, he also called him pathetic and a waste of a life, Mr Lewis asked for him to apologise.

The comedienne, Joyce Brindley, was not going to miss out on this blood letting part of the show; waving some kind of magazine above her head she told councillor Thornton to grow up.

Whilst all this was going on that doyen of democracy, the chairman impersonator, did nothing.  It would seem that councillor Ireland believes that this is acceptable behaviour from these moronic comedians.

A recorded vote was taken on whether or not what councillor Thornton was saying was correct.  After some prompting from the sisterhood the chairman impersonator read out the strange voting figures, Six against, one for and seven abstentions. The part of the comedy show for the plebs was brought to a close, but not before one of the female comedians had ordered one of the sisterhood to wait for her in the school yard.  I will leave it to your imagination as to the reply.

Much to the surprise of the audience Councillor Thornton was not evicted from this part of the show.

One of the new things Mr Lewis and myself discovered was the role of Sin-Jin.  He has a pedal under his table; when he wants the labour party members to vote his way he presses it and their right arms shoot up.  We were under the impression that he did this by hypnosis but alas it is only a mechanical device.

Dave Smith
Comedy Correspondent

Bullying Definition: Use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.

Anston Parish Council – Incredible scenes!

Early reports of last nights Meeting of Anston Parish Council indicate that the performers well and truly brought themselves and the Parish Council into disrepute.

Proceedings were pretty much as could be predicted and contained these particularly outrageous examples, brought to you by ‘Truth Seeker’, to whom we are very grateful.

Robin Stonebridge to fellow parish councillor Stuart Thornton:

“It is a platform for your paranoid fantasies,” and “You are a waste of life.”

Joyce Brindley to a member of the public in a threatening manner:

“I’ll see you outside”

Michael Gazur, the Clerk to the parish council also got into the act by having a go at a member of the public. Disgraceful, outrageous and thoroughly unprofessional conduct?

These three most egregious examples amongst those on show last night, clearly demonstrate the many problems caused by those in control of the parish council who resent the local people holding them to account!

Further reports later.

To aid interpretation see: Anston Parish Council – Membership analysed

Further probe bears fruit!

Don Buxton shares this latest exchange of correspondence:


Thank you for the information lately supplied by your subordinate employee in response to my earlier request to you to supply further statutory information relating to a motor vehicle parked on the paved pedestrian area outside the Town Hall.

I, along with many other active and empowered Rotherham citizens, are now perusing, checking and scrutinising the details provided and may contact you again should we require you to provide further information or clarification.

It is with the utmost irony but significant delight that I note that the RMBC vehicle in question will no longer be parked on the pedestrian paved area outside the Town Hall when not in use.*

I am pleased to recognise and acknowledge the change of attitude towards enquiries from citizens which has undoubtedly occurred at a strategic level within RMBC in order for this significant volte-face to occur.

Yours Sincerely,

Donald H. Buxton

Download Requested Statutory Vehicle Log

*Rothpol’s emphasis

— On Mon, 19/3/12, Battersby, Karl <> wrote:

From: Battersby, Karl <>
To: Don Buxton
Cc: “Kemp, Liz” <>
Date: Monday, 19 March, 2012, 9:41

Mr Buxton, I write in response to your latest email. I attach the mileage sheet as requested. I can also confirm that the vehicle is driven by one of our town hall attendants

I can also confirm that in future the vehicle will not be parked on the pavement outside the Town Hall when not in use.

I trust that answers your questions.


Karl Battersby
Strategic Director
Environment and Development Services
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council