Pensioner accuses Watford council of 'censorship' after being refused meeting with chief executive

Man accuses Watford council of 'censorship' after being refused meeting with chief executive

Man accuses Watford council of 'censorship' after being refused meeting with chief executive

First published in News
Last updated
Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

A man who has been refused a meeting with the Watford Borough’s chief executive claimed the council is "rife with censorship".

Pensioner Martin Ramirez said council bosses refuse to listen to his concerns about the town.

The 62-year-old of Stamford Road has been trying to get an appointment with chief executive Manny Lewis to discuss a number of issues including pond safety and dangerous cycling on The Parade for months. 

And Mr Ramirez, who says his concerns regard health and safety issues around the town that particularly affect Watford’s disabled community, has now been told officially that Mr Lewis will not meet him.

Mr Ramirez said: "It’s terrible, I’ve got the initiative to speak and I’m not allowed.

"I love fighting for other people who cannot raise issues themselves, such as disabled people or kids.

"They do not want to listen to constructive comments.

"The policy here outlines that they do not want to hear what I have to say - maybe because it would be embarrassing for them."

Mr Ramirez said stonewalling from the council and refusing to listen to ordinary Watford people causes those with concerns to stay silent and give up.

He said his concerns are shared by a number of other residents he has spoken to and that he is not a troublemaker.

He said: "It’s censorship on their part not to listen - and it goes throughout everything in this council.

"This is the wrong use of council money."

Mary Kearney, spokeswoman for Watford Borough Council, said Mr Ramirez has made several complaints to the council and that Mr Lewis was of the opinion nothing would be achieved by meeting him.

She said: "We are committed to open engagement and dialogue with our residents. Over a prolonged period Mr Ramirez has made a number of complaints to various departments and members of staff have invested a great deal of  time in  responding and working to find resolutions. 

“If Mr Ramirez is still not satisfied he is welcome to contact the independent Local Government Ombudsman; however it is not seen as appropriate for the Managing Director to intervene on this occasion.”

Comments (7)

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1:47pm Tue 22 Jul 14

garston tony says...

Or hows about his local cllr? That seems a far more appropriate person to speak to
Or hows about his local cllr? That seems a far more appropriate person to speak to garston tony
  • Score: 7

2:48pm Tue 22 Jul 14

Cuetip says...

garston tony wrote:
Or hows about his local cllr? That seems a far more appropriate person to speak to
Agreed. There is nothing to stop him contacting various groups eg the Police, about his concerns and forwarding emails.

I think there are thousands lot of ordinary people who would like to have a word with the chief executives of the local health authority over the fast disappearing hospital, the Herts PCC chap on the crime figures, WCHT and their refurbishment programme, the INTU centre and parking, Tesco and their strategy , M&S and their product range, David Cameron on the EU etc but simply isn't going to realistically happen.
[quote][p][bold]garston tony[/bold] wrote: Or hows about his local cllr? That seems a far more appropriate person to speak to[/p][/quote]Agreed. There is nothing to stop him contacting various groups eg the Police, about his concerns and forwarding emails. I think there are thousands lot of ordinary people who would like to have a word with the chief executives of the local health authority over the fast disappearing hospital, the Herts PCC chap on the crime figures, WCHT and their refurbishment programme, the INTU centre and parking, Tesco and their strategy , M&S and their product range, David Cameron on the EU etc but simply isn't going to realistically happen. Cuetip
  • Score: 6

4:30pm Tue 22 Jul 14

MaryWatford says...

Why not go to one of the meetings that the Mayor holds?
Why not go to one of the meetings that the Mayor holds? MaryWatford
  • Score: 2

5:25pm Tue 22 Jul 14

G_Whiz says...

Does not matter who we talk to - The crime continues, the over-developement continues, the gridlock continues, the lack of school places continues........ It all just carries on. Because they don't care, they are just chasing those big wages and those big pensions!
Does not matter who we talk to - The crime continues, the over-developement continues, the gridlock continues, the lack of school places continues........ It all just carries on. Because they don't care, they are just chasing those big wages and those big pensions! G_Whiz
  • Score: 2

10:09pm Tue 22 Jul 14

crazyfrog says...

Many Lewis is a public servant, and should have the common decency to atleast hear the gentlemen out, it's just courteous and professional to do so, to say that it won't achieve anything Is just crass, if somebody has a point to raise Just listen !!!! Many Lewis has just shown the watford taxpayer that he is not approachable.
Many Lewis is a public servant, and should have the common decency to atleast hear the gentlemen out, it's just courteous and professional to do so, to say that it won't achieve anything Is just crass, if somebody has a point to raise Just listen !!!! Many Lewis has just shown the watford taxpayer that he is not approachable. crazyfrog
  • Score: 2

7:58am Wed 23 Jul 14

garston tony says...

Its a difficult one, if Mr Ramirez is indeed a serial complainer who has wasted council time in the past (whether it was wasted or not is a matter of opinion) then I can understand why the chief exec wouldnt want to speak to him as he would have reason to believe it would be a waste of his time also. Crazyfrog its a little simplistic to say as a public servant he should meet with someone just because they demand a meeting, he'd never get anything done if he did.

But there are other people Mr Ramirez can speak to, and I would imagine his local cllr would be the ideal person to put his concerns to seeing as in a way Many Lewis is a cllr's subordinate and thats what cllr's are there for anyway
Its a difficult one, if Mr Ramirez is indeed a serial complainer who has wasted council time in the past (whether it was wasted or not is a matter of opinion) then I can understand why the chief exec wouldnt want to speak to him as he would have reason to believe it would be a waste of his time also. Crazyfrog its a little simplistic to say as a public servant he should meet with someone just because they demand a meeting, he'd never get anything done if he did. But there are other people Mr Ramirez can speak to, and I would imagine his local cllr would be the ideal person to put his concerns to seeing as in a way Many Lewis is a cllr's subordinate and thats what cllr's are there for anyway garston tony
  • Score: 7

4:52pm Wed 23 Jul 14

Wacko Jacko says...

crazyfrog wrote:
Many Lewis is a public servant, and should have the common decency to atleast hear the gentlemen out, it's just courteous and professional to do so, to say that it won't achieve anything Is just crass, if somebody has a point to raise Just listen !!!! Many Lewis has just shown the watford taxpayer that he is not approachable.
Nonsense, there are roughly 90,000 residents of Watford, it is just not realistic to think that everyone can have their say direct with the Chief Exec. As others have pointed out there are several other routes to having your say, try one of your councillors for a start, or go along to one of the Mayor's open meetings.
[quote][p][bold]crazyfrog[/bold] wrote: Many Lewis is a public servant, and should have the common decency to atleast hear the gentlemen out, it's just courteous and professional to do so, to say that it won't achieve anything Is just crass, if somebody has a point to raise Just listen !!!! Many Lewis has just shown the watford taxpayer that he is not approachable.[/p][/quote]Nonsense, there are roughly 90,000 residents of Watford, it is just not realistic to think that everyone can have their say direct with the Chief Exec. As others have pointed out there are several other routes to having your say, try one of your councillors for a start, or go along to one of the Mayor's open meetings. Wacko Jacko
  • Score: 1

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