Sir—Having decided some time ago not to make any more contributions to your letters column I could not resist the temptation of your front page headline, “Tell us where to wield the axe!” (see Advertiser, August 27).
Chief executive Martin Kimber has not been here very long but he must have been fed a real load of rubbish about the council having a “real pedigree of listening to local people.” He obviously can’t or doesn’t read your paper.
Example. Council meeting when discussion took place regarding freezing or even reducing councillors’ remuneration in line with what had happened in Sheffield.
The council leaders’ total response was “No chance.” Littleboy’s Mafia were instructed to vote likewise.
Martin Kimber should also explain why, when so many departments have highly paid strategic directors, they need a Cabinet member who only has a limited knowledge of any department.
If Martin Kimber is as good as he is paid to be, tell him to look at the cuts envisaged on page four last week. Instead of starting at the bottom let’s look at the top.
It is not rocket science to determine how many jobs could be saved by officials and highly-paid staff reducing their salaries by 25 per cent.
We are continually being told that these exorbitant salaries have to be paid to get the best people, so this is the time for them to earn their corn, a term well known in the councillor world.
I cannot close without reference on page two to Denis MacShane’s disruptive and disgraceful behaviour.
It is pathetic for him to think that a box of chocolates entitles him to bully, speak and behave in such a manner.
He should not be allowed to resign or retire, he should be sacked.
P. Milner, Far Field Road, Herringthorpe.
Consultation is a con
Sir—The front page of the Advertiser made interesting reading with the announcement that the chief executive and elected councillors want the public to state where they want the cuts to fall.
However, more interesting and illuminating were other articles found elsewhere in the “Tizer” that showed this consultation to be a con from the onset.
Take page four, for instance. RMBC have proposals to slash £1.3 million from Children’s Services and up to £1 million from Adult and Neighbourhood Services.
Also an RMBC-sponsored centre for council and health services in Rawmarsh is to be sidelined.
All this decided in “private sessions” between executives, strategic directors and councillors. Well, so much for the consultation. So much for democracy. It’s all a sham.
Let’s be honest, the unelected and elected big wigs in the council already know what is going to happen and so do the public in general.
The main targets will be children and young people, the aged, the disabled and everything and anyone else in real and actual need of support.
Meanwhile, the real efficiencies required will go ignored. The efficiencies at the very top of the tree will not happen.
If you are old, if you are young, you are needy or need care, provide care, or just care, in Rotherham it’s time to fear.
Your services are at risk...and so is the future of essential community and neighbourhood facilities in the borough.
Although I doubt the salaries, expenses and bonuses of the executives, directors, consultants and councillors will be. Some things are always ring fenced it seems.
So what can the people of Rotherham do? Well, they can do what South Yorkshire people have always done. They can stand up for what is right and tell those who are wielding the axe that they are but public servants, nothing more, nothing less.
They can tell the powers that be, with their ridiculous salaries and job titles, that they want to retain front line services and not pay tax for mandarins.
And they can tell the men and women in grey (many unelected) that the cuts should start with their salaries and, if necessary, their jobs. As ever, too many chiefs and not enough Indians.
Come on the citizens of Rotherham, you have a proud tradition of fighting for what is right. Don’t let yourself or the future generations down, otherwise all we will have left is a wasteland.
Finally, one thing puzzles me. If the cuts are needed because of “claimed” overspending, then surely the directors and executives that allowed this to happen should pay the price now.
Then again, I’m just being silly. In the real world it’s always the poor and general public that pay the price.
R.A. Fenwick, Wortley Road, Bradgate, Rotherham.
Cut councillor numbers
Sir—I copy you on my recommendation to the request for suggestions to Rotherham Borough Council on where to cut costs.
I very much doubt it will bear much consideration from them but it is worth a try.
Rotherham. Population approx. 250,000.
Total number of councillors 63. An average of one councillor per 3,968 people.
Sheffield. Population approx. 547,000.
Total number of councillors 84. An average of one councillor per 6,511 people.
If we were to use a similar average per capita in Rotherham then we could possibly get by with a maximum of 40 councillors, subsequently saving on 23 allowances and the associated expenses.
Richard Bloor, Rotherham.
. . . and cut their money.
Sir—I can tell the council how to save some money. Get rid of half the councillors.
The rest that are left, cut the money they are receiving by half because they don’t earn it.
K. Neal (Miss), Robert Street, Masbrough.
Do your job
Sir—So, Rotherham Borough Council is asking for our help in ways to save money, the self same money that they have been flushing down the drain and into their very highly-paid pockets for decades.
And to compound the insult, the chief executive, Martin Kimber, outrageously states how Rotherham Council “has a real pedigree of listening to local people.”
Well, let’s nail that lie straight away and any reader of this paper will know exactly what I’m talking about.
The borough council did not listen when local people said that it wasn't a good idea to incur the cost of the Dolly Parton Library, when we already had several such early reading schemes.
They didn’t listen when we said it was a bad idea to demolish All Saints’ Buildings, you know, the building that used to bring £250,000 per year into the council coffers.
How useful that would have been right now.
They didn’t listen when we said it wasn’t right to expect us to stump up for their first class travel on their jaunts around the country.
Did they listen when we said there was no economic case for their daft Supertram idea? No, but thankfully the government did.
They didn’t listen when we said there was no need to spend millions on refurbishing the Town Hall, when it was a perfectly serviceable building.
And what about swanning off on jet planes to the other side of the world at our expense? No, they didn’t listen to us then.
I could go on ad infinitum, but there’s no need because as I said in this paper only two weeks ago, their chums in government have disappeared into oblivion and
Martin Kimber and those he so slavishly serves, haven’t got a clue.
In fact they are so clueless that they are having to ask us for clues and all of a sudden we are no longer their “customers” as they so like to call us, oh no, our status has indeed now been elevated to that of “partner.”
Here's my suggestion to Mr Kimber, get off your backside and do your job. You’re paid a huge amount of dosh every year by us, so earn your corn, mate and manage the town’s affairs.
And just so you know, the decisions that you are so afraid of taking are having to be taken by private sector managers every day of the week and as you and your other very generously paid mates at Rotherham council are so fond of comparing yourselves to them, don’t you think it’s about time you took responsibility, rather than trying to offload the hard bits on to us.
Rob Foulds, Bawtry Road, Bramley, Rotherham.
Cuts should start at the top
Sir—Re council cuts, why is it always those at the lower end of the wage scale who are asked to take early retirement or work four days a week to save the council money?
It should start at the top, where it will be more noticed. Take a pay decrease of £2,000 a year for those above £28,000 a year.
Also finish some of the councillors. There are too many, some on second income.
The council have made up a lot of unnecessary jobs, there are too many chiefs, they have wasted a lot of money over the years and have had a good run.
People have said they don’t mind taking a cut if those at the top do, or will they give themselves a pay rise?
Ann Cobb (by e-mail).
ORIGINAL STORY: Tell us where to wield the axe says council.
REACTION: Stand up and be counted.