Old News


Where was the post of Juniper manager advertised?

One question has been puzzling many Juniper residents for over a year, and remains unanswered. Where and when was the post of Juniper manager advertised? At present it is common knowledge that Sharon Costelloe, a resident, is filling the post and being paid. But there has been no formal notification by management to the membership of this change in policy. Neither does anyone know when the interview took place, or with whom. or what the manager's terms of employment are. Surely such a desirable post, with such security and remuneration must have been opened to general competition among eligible, trained, experienced candidates, especially with the eyes of Southwark Council scrutinising Juniper's procedures? 
It has to be said that during the traumatic period for all known as The Decent Homes Project, we could have used a competent manager. Whether we were paying for one is very debatable, if even some of the horror stories emerging are to be believed. 
It doesn't seem to many that the programme of works was especially well managed, and as residents, our only recourse is to Juniper management committee, such as it is, and its paid worker. And there are many questions to ask, but primarily we would like the initial mystery solved.
Where was the job advertised?
rob kenyon
flat 32

Mystery Worker

New gates, three winters after purchase.

It seems that we are now managed by a resident who is apparently being paid for her work.
The post was not advertised, and the appointment not announced to the co-op. The employee is not qualified or trained for the job, and many would say not suited for it. How much she is being paid, we do not k
now. Also, the worker lives on the block, which creates a very difficult situation for residents, and is an arrangement the co-op has rejected many times in the past on the genuine grounds that a resident worker would be liable to excess pressure, and that the objectivity of the worker would be compromised. 
At the sparsely attended December 09 meeting, management members were informed of this appointment but according to a management member present, were told that if they revealed this fact to anyone, that they would be ejected from both management and the co-op. No vote was taken.
Management claim this level of secrecy was essential in order not to compromise the Co-op's position in the dispute with the previous worker Ms Lewis. Whether this claim is credible or not, one management member objected and was given solemn assurances that the appointment would be announced in the first week of January. This has not transpired.
The management also claim that this appointment is entirely legitimate under the Management  Agreement, and sanctioned by LBS. Even if true, the total lack of transparency still damages the image of TMO's in general and Juniper in particular.
It looks suspicious even if it isn't.
And however innocent the appointment may be, no other Juniper Residents were offered the opportunity to compete for the post.
For the full inside story, see Fay Roberts' account:
 'Causes for Concern.'



Juniper February Joke of the Month

A scruffy piece of paper fell through Juniper letterboxes a few weeks ago claiming that Juniper now had its own 'official' website, and requesting recommendations and images. No address was given.


It is possible to blame the Right To Buy Legislation for many of Juniper's problems. But a fair share has to go to the collaboration of Southwark Council and Juniper management, which between them have destroyed a vibrant community which once had great possibilities.
This site hopes to set the record straight on many issues - if there were any records to begin with.

The new group structure, recommended by LBS, was formally introduced in Autumn 2009. The Gardening Group was the only viable group, and assembled in November 2009, and by January had researched and drawn up a first–stage plan to reform the gardening system, increase involvement and use, and cut costs. This was done at the instruction of management. 
However, when presented with the plans at the January management meeting, management announced that they had their own plans, and rejected all the work done by the Group. Control of the garden would be retained within the office, and the work done by casual agency staff. No future plans for the garden were announced.
Naturally this undermined the entire purpose of the subgroup and destroyed any involvement or imaginative thinking about the garden. Fay Roberts, the chair of the group was forced to resign.
There is now no gardening group, or any other subgroup, for that matter. The brief era of involvement is over and Juniper Management continues to career along on its own path.

A taste of the current management style can be gathered from the fact that in Novermber 2009 the prospective 'manager' approached a member banned from meetings (by a kanagaroo court in 2004) with a confidential offer of a place on management if he would support her attempt to gain the post of manager.
It was stressed that this offer must remain in confidence. It was rejected. 
Other similar unprofessional offers have been made to various members.

The same banned person was invited to join the new gardening group by the chair of the group (Fay Roberts), on the understanding from management that group activity was open to all residents. On discovering his involvement, Management noisily restated its ban. This in spite of the offer made a short time earlier of a management post if he would support the aspirations of the then chair.
The Gardening Group represented the first signs of genuine community activity at Juniper in over 5 years, and over a period of two months produced a valid, considered plan for the garden which would have both cut costs and increased involvement.
Management rejected the plan without consideration, announced that they were in the process of finding a new contractor, and left the chair of the gardening group with no alternative but to resign both from the group and from management. The management group is now a rump of two or three, with occasional contributors to make up a minimum quorum. All community involvement is effectively discouraged.
This is the kind of culture which gets TMO's shut down.