A Letter to the Editor from Whitby Town (Parish) Councillor Ian HAVELOCK, responding to the rank-breaking letter to the Scarborough News from Borough Councillor Stormin’ Norman MURPHY (Independent: Scarborough Northstead Ward), further endorsed by Councillor Roxanne MURPHY (Independent: Seamer) and backed up by the letter entitled “SBC is past its sell-by date. We need change NOW” by former-Councillor Mike WARD (Independent: Whitby West Cliff), Whitby Town (Parish) Councillor Ian HAVELOCK has added his voice to the call for sweeping reform.
Dear Mr Editor,
It is refreshing, to say the least, to read Cllr Norman Murphy’s accurate and insightful description of “Life at the Top – SBC style”.
Sadly, it reinforces the notion that in recent years some Senior Officers, who are responsible for the care and well being of the Borough, have forgotten that they are “public servants”. As a result, the public – you and I – experience complacency and neglect in many aspects of local government. Assets are allowed to fall into disrepair, front line services deteriorate, the list is a long one.
The culture which encourages what Councillor Norman Murphy describes as “empire building” seems to have taken precedence in the Town Hall, consuming already strained resources, which should be used to maintain and enhance our vital community interests.
Instead, this income is used to enlarge individual reputations and career prospects as well as defend and justify mistaken policies, with often very damaging results.
The problems are self evident; however, only one Borough Councillor seems willing to break ranks and speak out publicly. I am sure that many others are equally concerned. However, the concept of a Councillor as a “critical friend” to Officers, does not encourage a healthy relationship – which may challenge policy.
Instead it promotes deference to a professional opinion. This approach is enhanced by an adherence to “the party line”, and decisions which are taken in Cabinet.
For the most part, our elected representatives follow their party line, obey the Leader of the Council, and abdicate most of their responsibilities to Cabinet Members – Senior Councillors who, of course, have a vested interest in supporting Officers who initiate and execute policy.
It is therefore extremely difficult for individuals to speak out – let us hope that Councillor Murphy’s praiseworthy stance will start a “landslide” of opposition.
– Councillor Ian HAVELOCK – Town South Ward – WTC –