That really does beggar belief

I REFER to your article 'Misconduct warning for director' which reports on dubious payments running into tens of thousands of pounds made to staff by a chief officer. Such payments seem to have been made without the authority of the executive committee a

I REFER to your article 'Misconduct warning for director' which reports on dubious payments running into tens of thousands of pounds made to staff by a chief officer. Such payments seem to have been made without the authority of the executive committee and the instructions of the chief executive were ignored. It is difficult to establish just how long this has been going on but it is clear that facts were kept from the majority of elected councillors.For a spokesman of North Somerset Council to say it is extremely regrettable that confidential information about a member of the council's staff appears to have been leaked to the media, and that the matter is being taken so seriously that a formal investigation is being launched to establish the source of the leak, also because of care for individual members of staff the spokesman was unable to make comments, really does beggar belief.Might I remind North Somerset Council, both members and officials, that any money they spend is not their own to throw around as it comes from taxes paid by the residents of the district.I represent the Winscombe & District Senior Citizens' Forum and I witness on a daily basis pensioners and youngsters with families struggling to keep their heads above water in keeping up with increasing council tax demands. Please don't tell me about funding received from Central Government because, whatever the source of public spending, it invariably comes from us, the taxpayers.Both the ways of the public and private sector are known to me and if this had happened in the private sector I am sure the chief officer involved would have been relieved of his/her position immediately. However, here in the public sector, we have another case of cover-up and whitewash of which we hear so much these days.The sums involved were paid out of money from the taxpayers and action should be taken today to ensure the officer concerned makes good the money. Additionally the most serious consideration should be given to the continued service of this officer with North Somerset Council.JOHN ELLISChairman of Winscombe & District Senior Citizens' Forum


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