Unholy mess

PUBLISHED: 16:17 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 06:55 30 May 2010

I REALLY cannot allow the gross distortion of facts, as portrayed by former Cllr Richard Harris in last week s Postbag, to pass unchallenged. The LibDems won control of Uttlesford District Council in May 2003. The then chief executive decided to move on

I REALLY cannot allow the gross distortion of facts, as portrayed by former Cllr Richard Harris in last week's Postbag, to pass unchallenged.

The LibDems won control of Uttlesford District Council in May 2003.

The then chief executive decided to move on and, in their wisdom, they appointed Mr Bovaird.

They spent huge sums on consultancy fees and recruiting a temporary chief executive and Messrs Alan Dean, Mark Gaylor and Peter Wilcox set about a so-called management re-organisation.

Long-serving senior staff were encouraged to leave. The committee structure was replaced by three large unwieldy principal committees. This three year re-organisation caused disruption and undermined staff morale.

They promoted department heads to 10 directors, making up the management team. Needless to say, these promotions carried enhanced salaries.

This team, directed by the LibDem administration were responsible for the appaling mistakes which were incorporated into their last flawed budget, now found to be based on incorrect data.

Hence a projected budget deficit in excess of £1m for the current year for which drastic solutions had to be found. Therein lies the root cause of the redundancies, which the staff are currently suffering.

Let us give credit where it is due - it was former Cllr Harris and Messrs Dean, Gaylor and Wilcox who left the unholy mess for the new Tory administration to sort out.

It is an interesting sidelight on LibDem attitudes to spending public money that Mr Harris refers to a £1m plus deficit for 2007/8 followed by a £1.8m deficit in their projected budget for 2008/9 as "a very small nut" that the Tories are trying to crack.

Dare I suggest it is a long time since I heard such rank hypocrisy expressed.

Cllr Eric Hicks

Chairman, Licensing Committee

Uttlesford District Council

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