SOS recently published Tony Green’s question to last week’s Full Council Meeting, and the Leader’s written response to it.(See April 16th, Questions to Full Council…and non-replies from the Leader)
Although the question was not put on behalf of SOS, but in a personal capacity, it is reported here as one of three questions from the general public which were unanswered at the meeting.
Mr Green had requested that inaccurate statements about him by a Council spokesperson, recently published in the Sidmouth Herald, should be rectified. In short, Mr Green asked who the spokesperson was; who had briefed him; and when a meeting could be arranged to set the record straight through an EDDC statement in the press.
Councillor Diviani’s reply appears to suggest that the council and its officers are above criticism.
SOS supporters may therefore be interested to read this letter sent today, and copied to all Councillors:
To Cllr Paul Diviani, Leader of East Devon District Council.
Dear Councillor Diviani.
Thank you for your letter of 11 April 2013 replying to the questions I put to you at the East Devon District Council Meeting of 10 April 2013. I make the following five points in response.
1.How revealing that you object to your press officers having to take “time and trouble” to respond to a council taxpayer’s questions!
2.Your suggestion that the press enquiry has arisen because I “courted publicity” is risible. Media interest has much more to do with the tsunami of public criticism which has engulfed EDDC in recent months, much of it provoked by the mixture of arrogance and obstruction perfectly illustrated by your letter.
3.Equally fatuous is your remark that somehow the press were “following up…an agenda and content ..on my behalf”. If only!
4.As for your insulting suggestion that my criticisms of two council officers were “ill-conceived and unreasonable”, I would remind you:
a)My detailed analysis of the dual role of the Economic Development Manager/Honorary Secretary of the EDBF concluded that there was a serious risk of conflicts of interest. You dismissed the concern, for example on Radio Devon on 28 September 2012 with the untrue statement that the officer’s role was merely “clerical”. Recent revelations would seem to have confirmed my conclusion.
b)My personal opinion that the Chief Executive should resign resulted from his failure to act over a number of years to deal with the danger to the Council’s reputation posed by its relationship with the EDBF; from his attempt to dismiss critics such as myself as politically motivated: and from his apparent interference – unconstitutional in my view – with the independence of the TAFF set up to examine relations with the EDBF.
5.Sadly, the inaccuracies propagated by your Communications team (at whose behest?) in the Sidmouth Herald of 22 March are now compounded by your cavalier obstructionism. No wonder so many of us now smile cynically when remembering your promises, as newly elected Leader, of “greater transparency, more effective communication”, and a” listening ear” turned in our direction. No doubt many electors in the current County Elections and in the 2015 District Elections will draw the necessary conclusions.
Tony Green, Sidmouth, 18 April 2013.