That’s the headline of ‘From the editor’s chair’ in today’s View from Sidmouth, (www.viewfromonline.co.uk Tuesday, October 14th 2014, page 3).
The piece begins, ‘If I was a district councillor in East Devon I think I might be asking a pertinent question or two about why elected members had no previous knowledge that chief executive Mark Williams had been summoned before a Government select committee. ‘
It goes on, ..’I have some sympathy with the view expressed by experienced Ottery St Mary councillor Roger Giles when he said:”I would have thought that it might just have been of passing interest to the members of EDDC”, noting that in his 19 years of service he could not remember the chief executive being invited to meet with such an august body as the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee on Voter Engagement in the UK. ‘
Then, referring to the East Devon Alliance as ‘a pressure group which rarely shies away from rattling a few cages at Knowle’, the editorial points out that ‘The matter was first raised by (EDA member) Paul Freeman, who made ‘the alarming claim that 6,000 names had gone missing from the electoral roll in east Devon before the European elections’ , and that Mr Freeman’s question about it to Full Council in July is said to have had “an arrogant brush off” by Mr Williams.
‘Mr. Freeman did not let the matter rest and maintains that Mr Williams had been invited to Westminster to “explain himself”.
As to be expected , the communications department of EDDC put a very different spin on it. They say Mr Williams had been invited in his capacity as returning officer for East Devon “to give evidence on voter engagement in rural areas”. ‘
The View from editor sums up as follows: ‘A great deal of council business is delegated to unelected officers and that often means the flow of information to councillors, and indeed the public, leaves much to be desired. Roger Giles, somewhat tongue in cheek, commented: “Have I missed something? Clearly he had—like the rest of us.’