Last week it was revealed that 16 councillors had, at some point over the past two years, received official warnings or reminders over unpaid council tax.
In the interests of party political balance, this was neatly split with six Conservative, six Labour and four Lib Dems all refusing to pay on time – which pretty nearly reflects the relative strengths of the three parties in the Birmingham Council Chamber since 2010.
The Freedom of Information Act request also revealed that an undisclosed number of them, obviously somewhere between one and 16, had been summonsed to court over non-payment.
Not only should councillors set a moral example and pay their tax promptly, but they are not allowed to vote if they are not up to date.
But client confidentiality prevented the council revealing the names of those who had to be chased for payment.
Which is where we get the whispering campaigns and rumours circulating.
Within a few hours of the story breaking about five or six names had been put forward, within a day or two it was ten to 15.
There is now a list of about 25 councillors who are suspected of late payment.
One poor councillor even admitted they had double checked their receipts over the last two years to ensure it wasn’t them.
Some of the sources are more reliable than others – but even so there has been no paperwork, nothing in black and white.
Which means that at least nine people have been slandered, probably more.
So until those 16 are identified, or own up, the whispers will continue.
It only took three months for the ruling Labour group to lose their first vote since taking control of Birmingham’s Council Chamber with two-thirds of the seats.
To be fair, it was at the tail end of a rather long and drawn out planning committee meeting, a forum which usually prides itself on being non-partisan.
The Labour group has a nine members of the 15 strong committee but managed to lose a vote six-five.
It took the sometimes fragile former Tory-Lib Dem coalition several years before it lost a vote.
The defeat was over the seemingly non-controversial issue of a church, community centre and cafe opening in the busiest end of Erdington High Street – something to which local Tory councillors and the local BID are opposed, but which planning officers had recommended for approval.
With the meeting held at the end of the summer lull it was not surprising that two councillors were absent.
A couple more were obviously bored after three hours of deliberation on various planning applications and knocked off early – leaving Labour in the lurch.
The full list of four Tories and two Lib Dems were in attendance. Fortunately for the Labour group the loss of a planning vote is not crucial as under the tortuous planning processes any decision which flies in the face of officers’ advice has been sent away for a rethink, further information before being bounced back to committee.
As one opposition member suggested it shows that comfortable majority complacency may already be sneaking in among the Labour ranks.