PUBLISHED: 11:07 23 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:43 06 May 2010
SIR, — The Editor s Comment (Herts Advertiser, October 16) ridicules Herts County Council and council leader Robert Gordon after the potential loss of up to £28 million of taxpayers money. St Albans District Council is derided because a planning officer
SIR, - The Editor's Comment (Herts Advertiser, October 16) ridicules Herts County Council and council leader Robert Gordon after the potential loss of up to £28 million of taxpayers' money. St Albans District Council is derided because a planning officer adjudicated a planning application rather than a council committee at the behest of Harpenden East Councillor, Allison Steer.
The residents of St Albans district, and Herts certainly need to scrutinise councillors' and officers' performance. However, I suspect that lampooning local government councillors and officers has the effect of demeaning their efforts. The editor and company of our esteemed Herts Advertiser would do well to promote a more effective system, if they know one.
As it is we have a factious, fractured, multi-layered system of local governance. The services provided by the district and the county are costly. The budgets of both are very large. Presumably, managing those budgets, and managing the business of the councils requires considerable expert knowledge. The councillors we elect are, I believe, meant to represent a cross-section of the community as a matter of democratic principle; by definition they are unlikely to have the requisite experience.
The Herts Advertiser is well placed to initiate and sustain public discussion of the inadequacies of the institutions of government, not excluding central government. In the meantime let us not forget that we - businesses, employees, households and individuals - are part of the equation. The services are provided to meet our needs. Doubtless we can devise better remedies for the implementation of our current system. For example businesses whose product, delivered without charge to selected households and promptly becoming waste, could be levied "up front", thereby relieving "hard-pressed taxpayers".
Upper Culver Road, St Albans.