Opinion: Seeing Red with County Cllr Karen Constantine – Persistence pays off!

Cllr Karen Constantine

This departure has been a very long time coming. Thanet council CEO Madeline Homer has been clinging on to her role by her fragile finger tips for quite some time now. The continued employment of a failing, third rate, lack lustre, chief executive has been at our expense. All of us. We have all paid the price.

Homer bought nothing to Thanet District Council table. Nada. Zilch. Zero. There was no vision, no executive acumen, no dynamism. Usually a Chief Executive, at least levers in external knowledge, has a view on what the future looks like and vitally, how to work towards it, and importantly is possessed of a positive self-critical self-awareness.

A good CE positively wants to deliver better public services and to lead a fully functioning district council working collegiately with the elected members. Because that is the job. We pay her wages and in return, for an undoubted generous package, we rightly expected our streets cleaned, a positive, focused senior management team, strategies developed and implemented for the future growth of all our towns. We all should want flourishing seaside towns.

What did we get? A person accused of bullying. A dysfunctional top team that cost the rate payer dear. A lack of strategic direction and at the end a palpable inability to do anything than to look after herself.

It’s time now to look to the future. Thanet has an array of natural assets that we must protect and make the most of. Our shoreline, sea, beaches and towns are astounding.

Thanet has an amazing asset base. Like the Granville Theatre and the Winter Gardens, which we shouldn’t sell off. We need to invest in them for job and wealth creation in Thanet for Thanet.

Thanet has fantastic, talented people, who we also must protect and make the most of. We can’t fail as a place, with the talent and ambition that we are actually awash with. What we want and need is a top flight CE and a premium team to form and run a driven, well managed, visionary and ambitious district council.

I want to see a CE who will fight for better provision and training opportunities for our young people. One who will throw her – or his – weight behind a coherent local plan, which includes providing affordable homes as a top priority. One who will not be satisfied with managed decline and meagre funding scraps from a government hell bent on stripping funding out of the municipal world.

In short I want flair. I want ambition. I want experience. More than this I want visibility and accountability! No more hiding away in the council offices.

It’s a shame it has cost us. The rumours are £300k to convince a lame duck to waddle off? Money well spent if it means we can turn the page and start a fresh chapter.

Let’s make Thanet better.


  1. So true! My worry is that issues with TDC’s toxic culture have been known about for six years, maybe more. Homer goes but the senior team and Councillors who sustained her and her behaviour, perhaps even actively supported her, will remain.
    Moving on means dealing with this head on.
    All of us have to keep the pressure up on Cllr’s to set out an improvement plan for officers that also revisits so many poor decisions, berths 4/5, the Granville, green waste, the local plan, etc.

      • Andrew, Yes but in 2023 we can choose not to vote for Cllr’s who supported the Homer clique or simply stood aside and did nothing.
        Better still we can challenge our Ward Cllr’s now to tell us, in detail, how they voted on dodgy decisions, whether they ever challenged Homer on her behaviour, whether they ever demanded their Party/Group leader to manage Homer properly, etc.
        I know two of my Ward Cllr’s were constant in this, I watched them on the TDC meetings Youtube! They’ll have my vote next year.

        • Election 2023 You only have the choice from those that are on your ballot paper (Those that are prepared to give in some cases a lot of their time for very little £300 per month after tax = £10 a day it does for no extra charge it gives them the opportunity to be ridiculed abused and accused of everything) do you wonder why Main parties haven’t been able to field a full 56> in previous years?. At present you have Councillors that were involved in bringing the Council into disrepute. Then in 2015 most lost their seats but were reselected and elected AGAIN in 2019!! One that is on record for backing Homer publicly 2021 and one other that was SACKED from TDC for gross misconduct but didn’t declare this when selected. We desperately need Independent people to stand (and this is important “together”) otherwise they are not looked on as a group.

  2. is it not a crying shame that the grotesque E W Pugin [not a fine architect] Granville ex hotel has been awarded a large sum of money , while the Theatre opposite, a cultural asset for the whole community of Thanet, is to be sold off?
    The councillors should hang their heads in shame!

    • The Granville cinema/theatre is, in my opinion, a building which should be demolished. It disrupts the view along the promenade. It also, of course makes the shared-use path alongside it considerably narrower than the rest of it, and less safe for walkers.

      Are there any reasons why the refurbished Granville Hotel community rooms could not be used for whatever the people who want to buy the newer building want to do?

      • When it was a theatre and cinema no-one moaned about it blocking a view.

        We desperately need community spaces with an arts and creative focus.

        Selling this asset is hardly going to create an uninterrupted gawp by its demolition, is it?

  3. Speaking of useless, any chance of getting the ev charging points in both multistory car parks fixed,they have been out of service for a year now which is down to KCC as TDC can’t do anything as they only get 12p in
    the pound out of the council tax

    • Hi Barry, We are intrigued as to who the author was for Cllr Constantine’s article. Tis far too eloquent with joined up writing and thinking. Not a mention why Labour Councillors voted for this huge pay out. Why they believed the Tories (poor whipped whimps) horse crap about dire consequences?

  4. It’s a pity the Labour group didn’t get a grip of this while they were in control. A lot of money wasted which could have been saved. I’m no Tory, but well done Ash Ashbee. Finally someone with the know-how and determination to get things done, even in the face of Labour’s continuing prevarication and opposition.

  5. Whatever happened to the quaint concept of sacking incompetent workers without massive payouts. This is ratepayers money…enough to have funded the seafront lights for quite some time!!! Shame on TDC (again). Yet another example of incompetence bordering on corruption only too frequent during my 6o years living here.

    • It is the way of the world these days. Sad times. It could have been sorted years ago. At least it has been now, and MH is so litigious and difficult this probably represents a saving in the long run.

  6. Part of the problem is that local government has been starved of resources over decades and getting control back over local finances is key. Here in Kent we have the additional anomalies of most of the revenue being siphoned off to Maidstone and retained by the wealthier parts of Kent. Duplication and lack of coordination are the inevitable results. The streets will never look good where the drainage is the responsibility of the County and the road sweeping the role of the district. A unitary authority is the future and cannot come soon enough!

    • Given the amount of money TDC has managed to pour down the drain over the years perhaps we should be happy thaey didn’t have more to play with.

  7. It would be great if people who do not function are being sacked like in the real world. Paying them our money to leave is not money well spent in my opinion. It proves again that people in politics get away with….money. Our money, which could be spent on issues we care about and where the answer is consistently that the Council has no money.

  8. What we need is a civil service that will implement the decisions of the elected council, not a self-perpetuating bureaucracy that ignores and suppresses councillors.

    • But as has been discussed before, the councils officers are professionals in their respective fields and as such the guiding hand for the decisions councillors make , the councillors generally being politically idealisitc amateurs need reining in. Though planning and conservation are obviously easily pressured into turning a blind eye and rubber stamping councillors wants at times.

      • First step.
        Ban all council employees from belonging to or having “friends” in lobby groups such as, “Leaders Romans”. How our elected representatives have failed to exert proper oversight of the Executive buddying up with a house building cartel is simply beyond belief!
        Down with sectarian dogma and up with those who have any clue as to how the Universe actually works.

        • Googled “leaders romans” but have no idea as to the local relevance, i’d guess there’s a link, but it escapes me.

  9. If only the equally useless serial liar & conman Boris would go-it might be worth bunging him half a million golden handshake to pop off like this leech.

  10. Yes, as others have said, what a shame that Rick Everitt did get this sorted when he was in charge. I understand he didn’t see what the problem was with Homer’s leadership style from talking to people close to the issue. Everitt and Bayford both seemed to turn a blind eye to Homer’s obvious failings in leadership.

    Thanks also to Thanet Green party. They stood on the platform of clean streets and a clean council and kept the pressure on resolving this. We are now close to dealing with 50% of this.

  11. Hmm, where are all our sexists and bigots? They would be having a pop at Karen by comment 5, must be that they are not saying anything because the group in control that has sanctioned all this, is of their persuasion.
    All we need now is Shapps to be made minister of penguins in South Georgia, and then we can get rid of that other albatross from our neck,namely Manston.
    Only then will Thanet be able to move on.
    Sic Transit Homer!

    • It would appear the Labour Group chose to ignore what they were told by Karen and the Unions. In turn they offered their comrade no support whatsoever, encouraging Madeline Homer to bully the Councillor too. Sometimes you can do more working outside the cabal than being led by Donkeys.

  12. Public sector reform is long overdue. Only in this sector are exit payments astronomical. Driven by strangulated or luxurious policies 50 years out of date and misplaced fear of performance management.

    This sector needs commercial leadership. Urgently

  13. All the senior officers are “friends” with them on LinkedIn.
    The very essence of corruption. The postmodern equivalent of Poulson.

  14. Keith may well have the best idea, provided that KCC stops putting Thanet at the bottom of their heap

  15. Isn’t any kind of pigeonholing or name calling an act of bigotry. Why do some people think it’s ok to call people names – like “Racist” or “Sexist”. Which, incidentally, in Britain have specific legal connotations that can only be decided by a properly constituted court or tribunal. Therefore, rendering the name caller themselves liable to litigation for libel or slander – but only if they’re doing the name calling?

  16. Thanet has rid itself of a leader who took TDC into a downward spiral of incompetent management by highly paid officers. Now is the time for councillors to grasp the opportunity her departure offers and open negotiations with neighbouring Canterbury and Dover to form a Unitary authority and break free from KCC, taking control of our almost none existant health services and appalling traffic and road management.

    Councillors must adopt an approach to officers of ‘you advise but we decided. The Blob must be reduced to the insignificance it is.

    Homer’s departure should be seized as an opportunity to reduce the ludicrous payscale and cut back the bloated administration costs and staff numbers.

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