EDDC leader strips councillor of Rural Champion role

EDDC leader takes action after offending Christmas card remarks

A COUNCILLOR has been sacked from his role as Rural Champion at East Devon District Council after he offended the authority’s leader with comments he wrote in a Christmas card.

Conservative Philip Skinner, who represents Talaton area near Ottery St Mary, sent the card to Sara Randall Johnson and headed it “My greatest adversary”.

He went on to write: “The rest I can demolish in my sleep, but you are in a class of your own.

“Despite our forever on-going spats, that I and I’m sure you enjoy, I do have a huge amount of respect for your.

“Roll on February.

“Hope you are well. Don’t take the world on, on your own, it’s not worth the personal cost.

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“It’s business not personal.”

Councillor Skinner ended the letter with two kisses and two footnotes, the last of which stated: “If only things had turned out different, we’d have made one hell of a team.”

Councillor Randall Johnson informed councillors of her decision to sack Councillor Skinner in an email sent out on New Year’s Day.

She wrote: “I wanted you to know that I have reluctantly had to take the Rural Champion position away from Philip Skinner. We met on Thursday afternoon when I hoped he would have taken the honourable route, but he declined.

“The reason for doing this lay in a disagreement over a message he sent in a Christmas card. I was disappointed and concerned at its tone towards members of the council.

“Being called “my biggest adversary” is something I can well shoulder, but I am not prepared for all members to be so summarily dismissed. This is not tolerable and why I felt it necessary to take such a drastic step.”

Councillor Skinner declined to make a comment about his Christmas cards repercussions.