You should be able to defend yourself

NORTH Somerset Council has double standards when handling business. This week it has been reported that the leader Councillor Nigel Ashton has sacked Councillor Yamanaka as

NORTH Somerset Council has double standards when handling business.This week it has been reported that the leader Councillor Nigel Ashton has sacked Councillor Yamanaka as chairman of the Environmental Policy and Scrutiny Panel, and appointed a Conservative, and told her 15 minutes before full council, not giving her the opportunity to defend herself.Surely even if they are volunteers, courtesy demands that you should be able to defend yourself and fight your corner, and be given a fair hearing, but Cllr Ashton is a law unto himself. I must admit nothing surprises me any more, I have been on the steering group for the re-development of Ebdon Court since its inauguration in January 2004 and was on the panel to select the developer on March 31, which goes to the executive committee on June 4 for final approval.We have been sworn to secrecy regarding this, so I was completely taken aback to hear this was being openly discussed in meetings between the health care staff, council staff, and several charitable organisations the name of the developer disclosed, and have since learnt this has been in the public domain for two-three weeks, and the developer confirmed they were going ahead to develop the site.I emailed the council because when there have been previous leaks, it has always been assumed, but not proven, that the carers have been to blame, although we know we have never have leaked information, and I was told it would be discussed on Wednesday and a statement issued.Nothing has been forthcoming, and still the care staff who work at Ebdon Court have not been advised of the situation, although their jobs could be at risk, terms may not be acceptable to them when the developer signs the contract.These staff are very highly trained dementia carers, superior to any other carers I have met in any of the homes I have visited at different times, and far superior to hospital staff. To lose their services would be unforgivable.How can North Somerset Council treat these staff as if they are invisible, they have feelings, are very hurt and concerned at the outcome of the development? Everyone knows who the preferred developer is except these highly trained staff.My other concern is does the preferred developer have the integrity that is required to handle such a development? After all, if their staff are openly discussing confidential plans not yet endorsed by the council, and no contact has as yet been signed, much of the work which will be carried out under their supervision at the centre will be highly confidential concerning the health and wellbeing of our loved ones. Can they be trusted to keep confidentiality, after leaking news before it has been approved?It appears the integrity of the council should also be questioned, after appointing Consultants RSZ at a huge cost to help them save money, who have now left due to adverse comments in the press and have been replaced by RSE Consulting at a cost of £10,000, only saving £82,000. Who was the councillor responsible for the first decision, and why does not one query the cost of these so-called consultants until there is public outcry?North Somerset Council really must get their act together and start working as a unit that can make correct decisions, at a sensible cost the first time around, and not after public intervention via the press.PEARL COLLMAN - Via email


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