Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Snooty Sanders gets OBE!

THE publication Northern Voices, which in previous issues has covered stories on Bury and blacklisting, is available for £4.20 for two issues (post included & cheque payable to 'Northern Voices') from c/o 52, Todmorden Road, Burnley, Lancashire BB10 4AH or email: northernvoices@hotmail.com

Mark Sanders
Despite rampant use of Spy Cameras, a Reign of RIPA Terror, a Blacklister on the Rock & the sale of a Lowry former Chief Executive of Bury MBC, Mark Sanders, was awarded an OBE.

THIS June, Mark Sanders, who was Chief Executive of Bury Council in Greater Manchester from 2001 up to March this year, was awarded an OBE in this year's Queen's Birthday Honour list. He presided over some dodgy and controversial deals during his term in office: such as annoying local art lovers with the Council's sale of a Lowry to rescue the authority from debt and revelations in the media that the Council had conducted several spying operations in 2006 on its binmen and other staff. The surveillance of the working binmen, all members of Unite the Union, was carried out by a security guard using a hand-held camcorder in an unmarked council vehicle, but a later Bury Council operation was conducted, using audio equipment attached inside a council vehicle, on the security guards themselves while they were going about their work.

Mr Sanders has got his OBE for services to local government but seven years into Mark Sanders' term in office on the 6th, September 2008, The Mail on Sunday reported that Bury MBC 'used controversial anti-terror laws to spy on a crew of refuse collectors after receiving a tip-off that they were incorrectly emptying a dustbin' and that 'Officials set up an undercover surveillance operation in an attempt to prove the three binmen were being bribed by a newsagent to take away trade waste when he had not paid the extra fee for it to be collected.'

In justification for this Bury Council said at the time that'the investigation proved that the men had removed trade waste - and it also claimed they had used their refuse truck for "pecuniary gain" because one accepted a bottle of strawberry-flavoured mineral water from the shopkeeper.'

Commenting on Mr Sanders' OBE, Mike Kelly, the new Chief Executive of Bury Council, said: 'Mark was nominated for this award due to his commitment and dedication, not only to the people of Bury during his time as Chief Executive here, but his work across Local Government at a local, regional and national level. It is a great achievement and Mark should be very proud that his work has been recognised in this way.' Such 'commitment and dedication' cost the people of Bury an estimated £100,000 with an out-of-court settlement to the sacked binmen after their claim for unfair dismissal resulted in a payout to the binmen with a gagging clause, following being suspended for 10 months on full pay.

Perhaps Mr Kelly as the current administrative boss of Bury has an eye on some future award for himself because Mr Sanders predecessor Dennis Taylor who left his role as Chief Executive of Bury Council in 2001, when Mr Sanders took over, got himself an MBE for his services to local government and to the community. Mark Sanders himself was described to me by Steve Morton, an official in Unison, as a being somewhat snooty and always getting one of his underlings to answer when dealing with a union official. When I wrote to him about the possibility that the blacklist was in operation on the building site on the Rock in Bury he failed to respond and was only forced to reply when the Manchester electricians organised a picket at the site in August 2009. No wonder that George V, even in the 1930s, was worried that the awarding of honours was getting out of hand and that there was a danger of letting in any old scallywag.

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