Cllr. Gary Byrne (Thurrock Independents) who represents the Homesteads ward on Thurrock Council faces disciplinary action from senior officers: Councillor faces punishment from officers after criticising their roles in rail station and A13 fiascos. This is in relation to comments he made about the council’s ability to oversee the ‘re-development’ of Stanford-le-Hope railway station and the widening of the nearby A13. Issues that we’ve raised a fair few times as well: Thurrock Council and delayed infrastructure projects – there’s a pattern emerging and it ain’t good!

Cllr. Byrne cares about the residents he represents, puts in the hard graft in his ward and isn’t afraid to ask difficult questions relating to the council’s performance in delivering infrastructure projects and the services we rely upon. All he is doing is what every councillor should be doing. Yet he now faces disciplinary action from senior, unelected and unaccountable officers at Thurrock Council just for doing his job! Given the criticisms we’ve made of the council, we’re starting wonder how much longer it will be before we start to get threatening missives from senior officers who want us to shut up.

Yet again, this raises the question of who actually runs Thurrock Council. Is it the senior officers or the elected councillors? From where we’re standing, unless you’re a ruling group councillor who enjoys a cosy relationship with senior officers, you’re not allowed to criticise the performance of the council without expecting some kind of disciplinary action. The same applies to any local journalist doing the job they’re supposed to be doing in holding the council to account. Back in 2018, senior officers at the council were effectively barred from talking to Neil Speight (now the editor of Thurrock Nub News) who was then the editor of the Thurrock Independent newspaper.

While we vote in and vote out councillors, we have absolutely no say over the cabal of senior officers at Thurrock Council who arrogantly seem to think they’re the ones actually running the show. What gets us is that these officers think we, the public of Thurrock, are going to continue to tolerate this state of affairs. We’re not mugs – we can see what’s going on and trust us when we say this, people are starting to get seriously pissed off with the attitude of these arrogant, unelected and unaccountable senior officers.