Harsh reality!

SIR - May I respond to Cllr Gibbing’s long, intemperate rant in last week’s Herald in more reasoned and less passionate tones?

In my original email correspondence with him, beginning over a year ago, I enumerated the points in my letter published on February 4. He was unable to tell me if a proper cost benefit analysis had been carried out. I would suggest that after more than a year’s deliberation a competent authority would have produced a proper plan before now. A cursory glance at the financial pages of a newspaper several years ago would have informed the council of the imminent financial catastrophe and they should have been prepared.

He states that, “I don’t happen to think we are massively overstaffed”. Well, I have it on excellent authority that when the Directors were employed the Chief Officers were to apply for these jobs and, if not successful, were to be made redundant. Both levels were kept.

I have also been told that firms the size of EDDC regularly contract out payroll work to keep costs down. Yes, making people redundant is expensive, but it is a one off cost with massive future savings.

He implies that I am uncaring about staff redundancies. As I wrote on February 4, “ I do not make these suggestions lightly”. The point is I realize that tough decisions have to be made. Does being employed as council staff exclude you from the harsh realities of the market?

Times are hard for business in East Devon and it behoves the Council to provide a lean, efficient machine. Cutting back on frontline services like flowerbeds that attract business to the town is madness.

Would the public prefer the restitution of a free pest control service or an extra layer of management?

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At the time of writing, we do not know which 38 jobs will go, but if they are part time, I suspect they will be mostly front line. Perhaps Cllr Gibbings should listen to Eric Pickles of the “Tory” Party, one of the last real Tories in a party infested with lefty social democrats like Ken Clarke. Pickles is urging the cutting of excess bureaucracy. The tabloid and broadsheet press are full of editorials and blogs demanding this type of action.

I appear to be in tune with the mood of the country. As they say in America, ‘Wake up and smell the coffee!’

L F Brownlee

3 Fortfield Chambers, Sidmouth