Derek Prodger victim of "cheap politics", says veteran councillor

Worcester News: Councillor Fran Oborski: will not support motion Councillor Fran Oborski: will not support motion

A VETERAN councillor has come to the support of Worcestershire's embattled fire authority chairman - saying he is the victim of "cheap politics".

Councillor Fran Oborski says she will refuse to back a motion of no confidence in under-fire Derek Prodger next month.

The Liberal, who sits on the fire authority herself, also says people like Mark Yates should receive a private health care scheme as part of their job.

As your Worcester News revealed yesterday, the Labour group at Worcestershire County Council is calling for a crunch vote on Cllr Prodger's future.

It follows the saga over paying chief fire officer Mark Yates £3,000 for a private back operation, cash he has now returned since it went public.

Cllr Oborski, a county councillor, said: "This situation is nothing to do with the county council whatsoever, it's a matter for the fire and rescue authority.

"It's certainly not the appropriate forum for this debate, it's not up to councillors at County Hall to determine the fate of who chairs the fire authority.

"The way in which the payment was handled was wrong, it certainly shouldn't have been done in private.

"But I used to work at Birmingham City Council and there, every senior officer was on a Bupa health scheme as part of their job.

"We knew we needed them at work and what it did was avoid situations like this.

"I don't have any objections to senior officers (of the fire service) having some kind of plan as part of the conditions of their service.

"The motion itself can't be valid anyway, so it's just cheap politics."

It also emerged yesterday that County Hall's Green Party group is likely to go the other way and back the motion.

It will call for Cllr Prodger to resign, saying the fire authority needs a fresh start under new leadership.

Councillor Matthew Jenkins, one of two Greens, said: "The big issue for me is the claim it's saved lots of money, but now the fire service has come clean and the information shows that decision saved nothing at all.

"It looks terrible. I need to give it some thought but I'll probably be backing it."

Cllr Prodger says he is "hurt" by the criticism, and says thought he did the right thing.

Mr Yates had the back surgery last October after deciding against waiting at least 8-10 weeks on the NHS, partly due to being in pain and partly because he wanted to be back at work quicker.

The decision to contribute £3,000 towards the £5,090 costs was made 20 days later, by four councillors who voted 3-1 in a private meeting.

Comments (11)

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9:09am Mon 7 Apr 14

green49 says...

Cllr Prodger says he is "hurt" by the criticism, and says thought he did the right thing,

He didnt even give the taxpayer another thought, as for Councillor Fran Oborski, NO comment, think she has lost the plot, why cant these people see what everyone else can see?
Cllr Prodger says he is "hurt" by the criticism, and says thought he did the right thing, He didnt even give the taxpayer another thought, as for Councillor Fran Oborski, NO comment, think she has lost the plot, why cant these people see what everyone else can see? green49
  • Score: 18

9:21am Mon 7 Apr 14

markskoda says...

A private health scheme membership on top of a £122.000 p.a. salary. Piling perk upon perk. Mind this veritable tower of perks doesn't fall on you or you may put your back out or even need rescuing by the Fire Service!
A private health scheme membership on top of a £122.000 p.a. salary. Piling perk upon perk. Mind this veritable tower of perks doesn't fall on you or you may put your back out or even need rescuing by the Fire Service! markskoda
  • Score: 10

9:43am Mon 7 Apr 14

brooksider says...

This is from a Councillor who plays solitaire on her tax payers funded iPad during Council meetings.
The Council's member for Compo Culture realise tax payers do not appreciate Councillors being free and easy with their money.
This is from a Councillor who plays solitaire on her tax payers funded iPad during Council meetings. The Council's member for Compo Culture realise tax payers do not appreciate Councillors being free and easy with their money. brooksider
  • Score: 15

9:52am Mon 7 Apr 14

Handcart says...

If I needed back surgery I would not be rubbing my hands together at a 'perk' of a few grand. If my bosses wanted to do something sensible to get me back to work quickly, I would consider that helpful. But to avoid spending public money openly and accountably, and for it then to be revealed that they did not spend it carefully anyway, obviously brings their actions in to question. Definitely less confidence in Coun. Prodger, not sure about 'no confidence'. Has he been ultimatly responsible for some sort of string of failings?
If I needed back surgery I would not be rubbing my hands together at a 'perk' of a few grand. If my bosses wanted to do something sensible to get me back to work quickly, I would consider that helpful. But to avoid spending public money openly and accountably, and for it then to be revealed that they did not spend it carefully anyway, obviously brings their actions in to question. Definitely less confidence in Coun. Prodger, not sure about 'no confidence'. Has he been ultimatly responsible for some sort of string of failings? Handcart
  • Score: -1

10:32am Mon 7 Apr 14

Jabbadad says...

Fran definately needs to wise up on this situation.
Also attend meetings for county council business if not go to BINGO.
Fran definately needs to wise up on this situation. Also attend meetings for county council business if not go to BINGO. Jabbadad
  • Score: 7

10:49am Mon 7 Apr 14

CJH says...

Handcart wrote:
If I needed back surgery I would not be rubbing my hands together at a 'perk' of a few grand. If my bosses wanted to do something sensible to get me back to work quickly, I would consider that helpful. But to avoid spending public money openly and accountably, and for it then to be revealed that they did not spend it carefully anyway, obviously brings their actions in to question. Definitely less confidence in Coun. Prodger, not sure about 'no confidence'. Has he been ultimatly responsible for some sort of string of failings?
"Has he been ultimatly responsible for some sort of string of failings?" Have you been down a hole in the ground for the past few years? He was 'removed' from transport and sidelined to the fire service. Why he didn't retire from politics then is beyond most of us. But no, he had to keep blundering on didn't he. The Bedwardine electorate have a lot to answer for.
[quote][p][bold]Handcart[/bold] wrote: If I needed back surgery I would not be rubbing my hands together at a 'perk' of a few grand. If my bosses wanted to do something sensible to get me back to work quickly, I would consider that helpful. But to avoid spending public money openly and accountably, and for it then to be revealed that they did not spend it carefully anyway, obviously brings their actions in to question. Definitely less confidence in Coun. Prodger, not sure about 'no confidence'. Has he been ultimatly responsible for some sort of string of failings?[/p][/quote]"Has he been ultimatly responsible for some sort of string of failings?" Have you been down a hole in the ground for the past few years? He was 'removed' from transport and sidelined to the fire service. Why he didn't retire from politics then is beyond most of us. But no, he had to keep blundering on didn't he. The Bedwardine electorate have a lot to answer for. CJH
  • Score: 8

11:33am Mon 7 Apr 14

Reader B says...

It certainly makes sense to provide private health care for key, senior employees. I am surprised and diaappointed that it was not already included in Mark Yates' remuneration package. Perhaps his, and others packages should all be reviewed. After all, the cost would be minuscule within the council budget and certainly reassure us, the public, that the people we really rely on will be quickly repaired when necessary. I would not provide private care for councillors. Oh no. That would be a step too far!
It certainly makes sense to provide private health care for key, senior employees. I am surprised and diaappointed that it was not already included in Mark Yates' remuneration package. Perhaps his, and others packages should all be reviewed. After all, the cost would be minuscule within the council budget and certainly reassure us, the public, that the people we really rely on will be quickly repaired when necessary. I would not provide private care for councillors. Oh no. That would be a step too far! Reader B
  • Score: -1

12:32pm Mon 7 Apr 14

brooksider says...

Reader B wrote:
It certainly makes sense to provide private health care for key, senior employees. I am surprised and diaappointed that it was not already included in Mark Yates' remuneration package. Perhaps his, and others packages should all be reviewed. After all, the cost would be minuscule within the council budget and certainly reassure us, the public, that the people we really rely on will be quickly repaired when necessary. I would not provide private care for councillors. Oh no. That would be a step too far!
Given that the average income in Worcestershire is around £25,000, how is it justifiable for Council Taxpayers to pay for private health insurance for individuals earning over 4 times this amount?
[quote][p][bold]Reader B[/bold] wrote: It certainly makes sense to provide private health care for key, senior employees. I am surprised and diaappointed that it was not already included in Mark Yates' remuneration package. Perhaps his, and others packages should all be reviewed. After all, the cost would be minuscule within the council budget and certainly reassure us, the public, that the people we really rely on will be quickly repaired when necessary. I would not provide private care for councillors. Oh no. That would be a step too far![/p][/quote]Given that the average income in Worcestershire is around £25,000, how is it justifiable for Council Taxpayers to pay for private health insurance for individuals earning over 4 times this amount? brooksider
  • Score: 0

4:18pm Mon 7 Apr 14

Nortynorse says...

Good comment Brooksider, how can anyone in their right mind listen to a councillor who plays solitaire on her iPad, really shows she does not have a grip on reality. As for for the "Artful Prodger" his time is up, especially after the fiasco of the "rapid transit system" in Worcester that has done exactly what???

My solution? Put Prodger, Smith, and Oborski in a room together so at least they could talk each other to death!!!!
Good comment Brooksider, how can anyone in their right mind listen to a councillor who plays solitaire on her iPad, really shows she does not have a grip on reality. As for for the "Artful Prodger" his time is up, especially after the fiasco of the "rapid transit system" in Worcester that has done exactly what??? My solution? Put Prodger, Smith, and Oborski in a room together so at least they could talk each other to death!!!! Nortynorse
  • Score: 0

5:16pm Mon 7 Apr 14

Andy_R says...

Nothing says 'woefully out of touch with public opinion' quite like backing Derek Prodger!
Nothing says 'woefully out of touch with public opinion' quite like backing Derek Prodger! Andy_R
  • Score: 1

2:31pm Tue 8 Apr 14

vertis43ad says...

Obviously councillor Oborrski has not seen the other side of this man. Regards a conservative voter.
Obviously councillor Oborrski has not seen the other side of this man. Regards a conservative voter. vertis43ad
  • Score: 0

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