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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Leadership Dysfunction

Some one asked me why Cllr Muhammed Butt is being challenged.  The email I reproduced on Monday only hints at the issues. 

I think there are probably a number of reasons, but I suspect the main one is simply his own dysfunctional behaviour.

As I pointed out on Sunday, he seems to have no regard for democracy.  Although he justified his defenestration of Ann John explicitly with the suggestion he would be more democratic, he has been far more dictatorial than any previous Council Leader.  My surprise is that so many of the councillors whose rhetoric is about democracy and independence have chosen to lie there and take it.

What is really striking about the Butt leadership, however, is his inability to work with other people.  Since becoming Leader he has got through three Chief Executives.  In the same four years, I think I am right in saying five finance directors have come and gone.  Indeed of those officers who headed departments when he became leader, none are left.  This is mirrored by a series of departures at more junior levels.

It is legitimate to ask why this is.  One reason I am sure sure is cronyism.  Cllr Butt seems to have little idea of the importance of expertise in managing the Council.  He himself seems to have no ideas or interest about how the Council is run or how it should develop, so perhaps that is why he sets such little store by those who do.  He also seems to have little idea of the importance of process.  As far as I can see, he thinks he should just give an order and everyone else should obey it.  In practice, that would often degenerate into one of his cronies telling him what to do and that becoming the Council position.

More seriously though is his inability to defend any consistent policy, or even to state what it is.  I have seen him say one thing in one meeting and then the opposite in the next meeting, and this is not occasional behaviour but his normal practice.

I have also known occasions, such as when he sought to have a full Council meeting moved as part of his vendetta against Cllr Van Kalwala, where he appears to have concealed his reasons from Council officers.  Indeed, I can remember a number of occasions when I was Lead member when he simply told me bare faced lies.  This is simply not a way in which the Leader of a Council can behave if the Council is going to function effectively. 

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