Friday, 20 July 2012


Those who can be bothered to follow the selection and election of a new Police Commissioner for Northamptonshire may just have caught the news that the Tory hopeful has been announced as Adam Simmonds a 35 year old Local Government Officer who lives outside of the County but "rents'  a property nr Daventry. All thoroughly uninteresting so far.  But voices at County Hall both at political and officer levels are starting to make themselves heard as many questions are being asked as to both Adam's "non political" past and his soon to be anointed "very political future"

A fresh faced young Adam started his political career at Westminster in 1998 as a parliamentary assistant to the then Shadow Secretary of State for International Development Gary Streeter MP,  before later arriving at County Hall as a Political Assistant to the Conservative Group on the County Council in June 2000, a political post he held for 5 years including at the time being the Chair of the National Conservative Political Officers Network from 2001 - 2005  but then he moved into a new non political role as a Leadership support manager at NCC in July of 2005 leaving many opposition members questioning how it was that someone with such an open political past could all of a sudden become so apolitical. You see local government rules are very clear in as much as stating that senior officers working for a local authority cannot be politically active, although his new role of course was to offer leadership support to none other than the Conservative Leader of the Council Jim Harker. Adams "non political" engagement certainly didn't hold his career back and within two years of joining the officer ranks he was promoted again to become the council's Head of Democratic services now serving all of the political groups! His CV then informs us of a huge leap in fortune to become briefly the authorities Acting Chief Executive from July 2008 to Oct 2008 before settling down to another new post as Head of Strategy and Business Administration, a post he then held for 3 years, a very long time in Mr Simmonds illustrious local government career and only vacated by him when in June 2011 he achieved the dizzy heights of Assistant Director of Leadership, Support and Democracy capping a golden period at NCC where he had spent 11 years in 6 posts with 5 promotions, 4 of his post being "non political" and yet to many of us his role during the whole period boiled down to simply being Jim Harker's speech maker and general apologist.

So were any of us surprised when in June 2012 the local Conservative Party announced Adam as their candidate for the Police Commissioners elections in November? surprised that this supposedly non politically motivated young man had now decided once more to rejoin the Tory ranks? or were many like me under the general impression that he had in fact never stopped wearing blue underwear throughout the whole of the 12 year period he was at County Hall.

Even the Conservatives though at this stage could now see that his candidature was announced Adam could no longer continue in his £75,000+ per annum non political role and so he announced his speedy exit from County Hall the very day after his selection as candidate was made public.

But the election isn't until November, and although he is probably a shoe in for the post that's another 3 months away and a man has to live after all, and what about the £5000 deposit that has to be found by all candidates at nomination stage, and all of those leaflets that need printing and paying for. Of course the Party should help cover these costs through their fund raising efforts but maybe he should take a summer job the same as Michael Ellis to help pay his way and also for the expense of living both outside the County and still renting a second property nr Daventry let alone travelling around the County of Squires and Spires promoting his candidacy. Poor soul, I almost feel sorry for him.

But I shouldn't have worried for too long  as it seems as if someone at County Hall has stepped in to help Adam out in a  purely non political fashion you understand. You see Adam gave up his post, he left of his own accord, he could not have continued in post as he would have been politically restricted. He forgave his salary and any future entitlement by announcing he was resigning his post forthwith. So why is it that I am now being told that he is being given a golden handshake of 3 months salary of at least £18,750.00 by NCC? How can this possibly be? who authorised this payment? and why has it not been made public? Given his intention to uphold the highest standards of integrity if chosen by the electorate to fulfil his newly hoped for role, perhaps Adam himself would like to justify his payment?

I did entertain for a while standing myself as an Independent in the forthcoming Police Commissioner elections, after all I spent 4 and a half years serving Northamptonshire Police as a Special Constable, can offer the Independent profile preferred by most sitting Chief Constables and even spent a night or two in a cell during my youth making me well placed to see local policing from all angles, but I decided against standing as I simply can't afford to run as a candidate, I can't even afford the £5000 deposit let all the £12,000 per leaflet cost to cover all homes in the County. If only I worked for the County Council as an Assistant Director things could have been so different!

At a time of crippling cut backs being imposed by the Conservative Party at County Hall I ask the people of the County to read the above and make up their own minds as to whether we are all in this together? Or perhaps some of them are up to their necks in it together in a very different manner altogether?



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