Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Rich pickings in Norwich Council Trough

A blow was struck against town hall corruption today with the news that Kristine Reeves has been sacked. For those who missed the original Times report, Ms Reeves, Head of Neighbourhood and Strategic Housing at Norwich City Council, evicted 25 elderly residents from their city centre bungalows in October then moved into one herself at a greatly reduced rent.

To add insult to injury, the previous residents, many in their late 70s or 80s, had been required to live alone, but 37-year-old Ms Reeves moved in with her partner, a fellow housing officer, at a rent of £47 per week (her salary being £52,000). Although the city has a housing waiting list of 7,589 households, the bungalows were offered for rent to council employees on an internal website; 18 of them moved in, half of whom work in the housing department.

The reason given was that it was a temporary measure, prior to demolition and a new 100 home development on the site - recommended by none other than the delightful Ms Reeves, who described the need to 'decant' the existing tenants. And to cap it all, she was chair of the East of England regional homelessness advisory panel.
Alas, this may be only the tip of the iceberg. I'm sure Ms Reeves sincerely believed she was acting in the best interests of all concerned, and I am equally sure that her like can be found throughout the public sector. All it needs is a complete lack of imagination and an unshakeable belief in one's own (sadly limited) capabilities.

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