After Cllr Terry blamed Council Officers for the proposal to close four public toilets in Southend, below is a letter that I have sent to Echo letters page:
In your Big Conversation feature (Echo 26/01/15), I was somewhat surprised and alarmed to read that Cllr Terry was blaming Council officers for the proposal to close four public toilets in Southend.
As the former portfolio holder for Waste Services I have experienced first hand how the budget setting process works. Initially, officers would meet with the portfolio holder to identify the areas where savings can be made. Officers would then discuss potential savings with Cabinet where Cabinet members would either agree with the proposals or ask officers to come up with different proposals where identified savings were unacceptable. Once Cabinet were agreed on the budget proposals would they then be announced at a formal meeting of the Cabinet.
It would surely be during these discussions with officers that Cllr Terry would have challenged the closure of the toilets. I mean, when cabinet members are paid over £18,000 a year, the least residents would expect is Cllr Terry to realise that closing four public toilets was a pretty stupid idea.
This does now beg the question as to whether the Independent Party/Labour/Lib Dem coalition are actually in control or are Council officers now running Southend Council.