Whose Portfolio is ‘Watching the Watchmen?’

Who in their lifetime has got a new job, not read the job description, and only found out what one  significant part of it was several years later? And then had absolutely no consequences as a result.

Nobody, right?

Well, you’d be wrong. Step forward hapless Councillor Adrian Gulvin, who has taken years of being ‘portfolio holder for resources’ to discover that overseeing Medway’s CCTV cameras is part of his remit.

It’s hard to be funny when faced with this somewhat staggering display of incompetence. Particularly when he describes the chain of events that led to him finding out in the way he did to other councillors:

“I had assumed that it was part of front line services, and when the problem was highlighted I went to see Cllr Phil Filmer.
He told me ‘it’s not in portfolio – I wish you the best of luck with it’.
It wasn’t until two months ago it was established in writing that the CCTV fell within the portfolio holder for community safety, which is me.”

Medway’s CCTV cameras are in the news currently after it was recently revealed how many of the existing cameras are either faulty or broken beyond repair. As such, it becomes all the more incredible that Cllr Gulvin was seemingly unaware that he was in charge of the situation, and that no one seemed inclined to point it out to him.

The issue starts to look more serious when examining the dealings between Medway Council and Medway Commercial Group, who run the CCTV cameras on behalf of the council. Following questions over their competence to operate the system, they claim to have been reporting back regarding the cameras.

Which raises the question of exactly who they were reporting back to if the portfolio holder responsible was unaware that they were part of his brief.

This isn’t the first time that Cllr Gulvin has found himself making somewhat questionable statements. He recently claimed that the experience of young women with period poverty were a ‘gross exaggeration’. In the same meeting as the CCTV debacle, he commented that Medway gangs were in ‘a lower league than Chatham Town’. These comments drew incredulity from councillors who have had gang activity including stabbings taking place in their wards.

Because this is how politics works now, Cllr Gulvin hasn’t been removed from his responsibilities, and has instead been charged with fixing the situation. A noble politician would have perhaps tendered their resignation over such a failing, but Gulvin is adamant that the man who didn’t know he was in charge of the CCTV cameras is the man to sort out the CCTV cameras.

What do you think? Have you somehow missed a key part of your job for a couple of years and suffered no consequences when found out? Is Cllr Gulvin the right man to sort out the thing he didn’t know he was in charge of? Comment below, let us know on Facebook, or send us a tweet.

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2 Replies to “Whose Portfolio is ‘Watching the Watchmen?’”

  1. Can’t help feeling that Cllr Gulvin is being made a scapegoat for this. Jarret and Chief Exec were given powers to appoint Directors of MCG when the company was created. Cllr Mackness, a fellow cabinet member was appointed and remains director/chairman of MCG. Surely Mackness/Jarrett should be carrying the can for this? but no, they’ve stitched Gulvin up instead and hung him out to dry like a wet rag. Nice deflection, although I notice that Cllr Doe has just been appointed as a co-director of MCG on 5th December – perhaps to watch those watchmen?

  2. Don’t ask me how I know but MCG have thrown him under a bus ( very clever how) to hide their own failures and cover ups. Like using “friends” to install the cameras and letting them invoice thousands

    Gulvin and Mackness aren’t friends and this comes as no surprise to people in the know

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