We should be held to account
PUBLISHED: 12:31 17 August 2006 | UPDATED: 09:42 24 May 2010
I WANT to respond to the letter from A Paul in last week's Mercury, in which he levels all manner of criticisms against local councillors. I have to agree with him in many aspects. Although contrary to his assertions, councillors do not benefit from high
I WANT to respond to the letter from A Paul in last week's Mercury, in which he levels all manner of criticisms against local councillors. I have to agree with him in many aspects. Although contrary to his assertions, councillors do not benefit from high levels of allowances and get not one penny towards our pensions (why should we?), I think it is absolutely right that we should be held to account for decisions made, or more accurately, not made.I have long held the view that elected representatives should be given a much harder time by local residents. Over many years the quality of local decision-making has been, to be charitable, varied. Why should local people put up with it?What I would say, though, is do not tar all councillors with the same brush. Just to take two issues: the Tropicana and the carrot (Silica). Just over a year ago I supported, as did almost all my Liberal Democrat colleagues, a motion on council to rebuild a covered swimming pool on the Tropicana site at public expense. This was just what local residents told me they wanted. Unfortunately, the majority of councillors voted to award the scheme to Henry Boot. But not all councillors are the same.On the carrot, I opposed the expenditure of £280,000 on the artwork from day one. Not because I am against public art or improvements to the town centre. I opposed it because we have better things to do with the money. I proposed a motion to stop the carrot and spend the money on other, smaller projects. I was supported by only three other councillors. The remaining 40 or so voted to press ahead with the work. That's democracy. But not all councillors are the same. Yes, give us a hard time. Hold us to account. Make us deliver on local priorities. Use the elections in 2007 to boot out the failures and bring in fresh blood. However, don't forget that not all councillors are the same. There are some, most even, who are working hard, fighting the corner for local interests and getting things done. We just need more like them.CLLR MIKE BELLGeorge Street, Weston
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