Level Playing Field Award: to Doncaster Council, which fined hard-up single mums for taking their children on holiday in term times, when it was cheaper. No such action, however, against Doncaster mayor Martin Winter, who has boasted of taking his children to the Glastonbury festival and international football matches during term time.
Send-off of the Year: Doncaster Council observed a one-minute silence "as a mark of respect and remembrance" after the death of crooked former mayor Ray Stockhill, who had been convicted of taking bribes and fiddling his expenses during the "Donnygate" scandal.
Private Eye No 1175 5th January 2007
As the Eye went to press Doncaster council was on the brink of an agreement that would see managing director Susan Law walk away from her job of two years with a payoff not unadjacent to £150,000, bringing the total bill for Mayor Martin Winter's botched attempt to have her sacked to more than half a million squids.
The abandoned "misconduct" case against Law (Eye passin) - that she had upset the delicate Doncaster flowers with her "overbearing" antipodean manner - was described by the Association of Local Authority Chief Executives (Alace) as "somewhere between malicious and completely ridiculous". Part of the deal is that the Labour council concedes that, although a police investigation eventually came to nothing, she was justified in asking Knacker to investigate allegations of corruption at Winter's pet Glass Park regeneration project (Eyes passin), given the evidence presented to her. Such as the false receipt which indicated £5,000 had been paid to the "Foundation for Local Food Initiatives" [sic] for "recruitment" advice - a selection process which resulted in one M. Winter bagging the post of project director. The Foundation actually received only £350. There was also the case of the signature on a grant application in the name of Glass Park chairman Martin Hilton which looked uncommonly like Winter's handwriting. it must have come about, according to Winter, because he had loaned Hilton his "mayor's fountain pen" for the occasion.
Both sides can now claim vindication. One big winner is Law. Another is Mark Greenburgh, former Tory leader of Buckinghamshire county council, now "head of local government" at solicitors Wragge and Co. He may have failed once more (see Eyes passin) to get a council chief exec ignominiously fired but he still gets paid big bucks, so what the hell? Winter looks pretty stupid, as ever. but he stays in his job. Only Doncaster's taxpayers are out of pocket. But who gives a toss about them?Private Eye No.1176 19th January 2007