Coun Graham Longley, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, commented: "Democracy in Southend is disappearing so fast it is about dead...
"The Tories are not only in control of the Cabinet, they will also appoint the chairmen of the scrutiny committees and so scrutinise their own decisions.
"This is not only inappropriate, but unacceptable."
Coun Longley was speaking after last Thursday's council meeting at which he failed to get an assurance from the leader of the council, Charles Latham that the Tories would follow the example of the previous Lib Dem/Lab administration who allowed members of the opposition parties to chair the scrutiny committees.
"From the answer to my question he made it clear the Tories would be grasping every bit of power into their own hands," said Coun Longley.
"The Tories showed on Thursday that they have no intention of involving anyone but their own members into running the town."