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Council lurching from crisis to crisis

PUBLISHED: 10:16 07 January 2008 | UPDATED: 19:22 05 July 2010

I READ with interest that Mark Bee is refusing to resign as leader of the Tory led council.

While I have no political persuasion, it is blatantly clear that Waveney District Council, while under Tory leadership, is lurching from crisis to crisis.

I READ with interest that Mark Bee is refusing to resign as leader of the Tory led council.

While I have no political persuasion, it is blatantly clear that Waveney District Council, while under Tory leadership, is lurching from crisis to crisis.

We, as local tax payers, have witnessed farce such as the Abblet affair, where in the name of open and transparent government local councillors were gagged from disclosure as, we suspect, this would have revealed the extent of Tory leadership incompetence.

Latterly, we have seen the havoc (and an even greater waste of public money) caused by the sale of the North Denes caravan site. Evidence that these are not just spurious acts of individual mismanagement stems from independent audits that clearly show how various departments within the council have been consistently underperforming for many years.

Furthermore, we have now seen the consecutive departure of two chief executives who, following rigorous and expensive selection, not only dramatically failed to deliver, but in the case of the last CEO, apparently, did not even possess the prerequisite skills for the job. Given that the council already has extremely limited funding and stretched resources, this weak leadership and associated mismanagement adds considerable pressure on staff, who, in many cases, and despite the Tory leadership, still manages to deliver a professional service.

Mr Punt, portfolio holder for finance, says that he has been “audited for 30 years and when you have a bad report the brave man works to improve it.”

While Mr Bee is refusing to resign as he states that “it would be easy to walk away from a difficult situation” and he believes that “the people of Waveney deserve better.”

Both councillors seem to divorce themselves from any responsibility for the poor performance to the extent that Mr Punt believes that the criticism was a “professional slur on his department” and not on the leadership.

Both councillors apparently feel the need to stoically battle-on and rescue the council from this protracted mess.

However, this is rather paradoxical when, at the expense of the Waveney taxpayer, they are both in political denial that they are in any way accountable for this mess but more importantly is their failure to recognise the obvious fact that they are part of the cause of this mess and certainly not the solution.

Both councillors should appreciate that in the private sector they would have been looking for alternative work a long time ago.

So I agree with Mr Bee, the people of Waveney do deserve better, but this will not be achieved with a totally incompetent Tory leadership, however delusional they might be about their capabilities.

GEORGE SMITH

Park Road

Lowestoft

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