Spin from the Leader of Arun District Council?

In last week’s Littlehampton Gazette under “Questions for Leader” you featured a press release from Arun in which the Leader of the Council Mrs Brown, said “In order to move forward and deliver the 20/20 Vision effectively it is important to use the skills, knowledge and experience among our Councillors, this means that the portfolios and services can be managed and delivered to the highest standard.”

To my mind this is an attempt to infer that portfolios and services have not been delivered to the highest standard in previous years and that the Councillors whose Cabinet appointments were recently terminated by Mrs Brown had not been up to the job. I believe that this is a deliberate attempt to mislead by “spinning” a convenient but untrue narrative. The facts relating to the termination of my Cabinet membership are very different to the line now being propagated by Mrs Brown. I have previously declined to comment on these matters but as Mrs Brown has now gone public with this press release I think it important to set the record straight on the facts as opposed to the “spin.” On 27 th April, in a message to me, Mrs Brown said that “she was sure that I would understand why she could not include me in her Cabinet for the coming year.” She also said that she “was not taking that action because I stood against her; she said she was not afraid of competition but it was the way that I did it that was unacceptable.” She also recorded her thanks for my contribution to Cabinet over the past few years which had been much appreciated. The Arun press release of 18 th May, very widely circulated to the media, but not apparently to Councillors and certainly not to me, seeks to justify the changes in Cabinet membership by reference to the changes in the management structure at Arun. This was clearly not the issue that led to my removal. As I have already said,the release also infers that the portfolios and services have not been managed and delivered to the highest standards in the past but will be in the future because of the skills, knowledge and experience of the new Cabinet. This new narrative is hugely different to the content of Mrs Brown’s message in April. I want to make it clear that I fully agree with the subsequent statement in the press release that “Cabinet shuffles are commonplace and necessary to ensure that services continue to be delivered to high

standards and a forward thinking vision is delivered.” However, I continue to believe that the principles that justify Cabinet shuffles also apply to the position of Leader of the Council and that is why I stood in opposition to Mrs Brown who has been Leader of the Council for more than thirteen years.

Terry Chapman

Ward Member for East Preston and Kingston

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