THURROCK Council’s Chief Executive, Graham Farrant neither asked for nor was granted any honeymoon period. He started on August 2nd and he immediately hit the ground running.
His modus operandi has been to walk the walk in the shape of ward walks with councillors as well as talk the talk in the form of Star Chamber meetings where sources tell us that officers and councillors who spend a great deal of time, telling you what cannot be done are given the Jean-Luc Picard message of “Make It So”.
There is every opportunity for Mr Farrant to turn things around in Thurrock. The timing of the announcement to “absorb” the Development Corporation into the Council will either give the council the chance to shape the borough in tandem with the new employers such as London Gateway and Royal Opera House or we will still be sitting in 2012 watching the council debate the height of an attic window for an hour.
It would be easy to paint a picture that here we have another Chief Exec, who will hang around for less than two years, get bogged down in controversy and chaos before bowing out with a pay-off. Indeed, YourThurrock had been preceded in Mr Farrant’s office by ITV Meridian, whose interview focused solely on Graham Farrant’s salary.
YourThurrock believes that there is every opportunity that the pairing of Graham Farrant and John Kent can steer the council through these extremely difficult waters. The key though is whether they can get the best out of the officers and councillors.
Speaking on and off camera, Graham Farrant has the ability to coherently sum up each challenge in one sentence.
Our ten minute interview, may answer a lot of questions for you or create a lot more. Time will tell.
With the Spending Review due in weeks and £35 million cuts to be made in three years, he may well boldly go where no council has gone before.
Let us hope that Mr Farrant can get past all the intricate machinations of the self interest groups and make Thurrock a little more responsive to those of us that partially fund it!