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Leaked: #Swindontory budget fails – Chief Executive Announces Emergency Budget Plans

Responding to the recent Conservative/Liberal Coalition government budget, Gavin Jones, (Chief Executive Officer of Swindon Borough Council),  has distributed a ‘Budget Response’ letter to the dwindling number of workers still employed by the council.

The Borough of Swindon, formerly known as ‘Thamesdown’, was once a vibrant example of municipal activity with teams of workers industriously tending to the infrastructure, buildings and the  flora and fauna of the town.

Modern day Swindon is a much shabbier vision of its former self as Council bean-counters are put under pressure to balance out the past,  profligate vanity-spending of it’s leader – conservative Roderick Bluh – against the harsh reality of a government that will no longer give him the cash or otherwise encourage his predilection towards legacy politics.

Swindon is on the ropes financially and, try as he might, Bluh will find it hard to blame all of it’s financial woes on the previous Labour Government or Gordon Brown in particular. We should not forget that Bluh has wasted close to £2,000,000 (yes, 2 million) of taxpayers money, our money, chasing his ‘visions of vibrancy’…..usually against the advice of people who really do know better than him.  And that £2million is just the money that we know about.   Bluh is an obsessively secretive individual who openly admits that he doesn’t trust his cabinet colleagues,  so there are probably more ‘Bluh Blunders’ that we don’t yet know about.  (if you know somehing we don’t, please consider ‘leaking’ it in confidence to Swindon Lamplighters )

And that, dear readers, is how Gavins letter to the worried employees of the Borough comes to the attention of Swindons tax-paying public: by multiple email submissions to the Lamplighters ‘Leakline’: leaks@talkswindon.org  – a safe email address to which only two people in the town have access, myself and the lovely Francoise De Lamp, both of us committed to shining as much public-interest light into the dark corners of the Euclid Street idiocracy as possible, usually causing annoyance and anger in the very people we elected to, (what we laughingly call), ‘serve us’.

Just before we get to Gavin’s letter to the troops I’d like to leave you with a little food for thought:

As the grindingly erosive wind of the ConDem austerity budget begins to wash over us mere mortals, and the twin mantra’s of:  ‘gold plated public pensions’ and ‘overpaid public servants’ are being guffed out every day,  please remember this:

In 2007/2008 Eight Swindon Borough Council Directors each took home more than £100,000

Gavin Jones earned £191,711 in the same year which was just £3,000 less than the Prime Minister.

I believe the chief executive usually trousers more in ‘bonuses’ and pay awards each year,  (£16,762 bonus and a £2,103 pay award in 2007/2008),  than an ordinary worker earning minimum wage who works  flat-out for 48hrs each week for 48 weeks of the year who would gross, (£13,300 approx).

So, as those at the top start pontificating about ‘hard decisions’ and ‘priorities’,  and begin preaching even more sanctimoniously from the pulpits of the Council Chamber and Swindon Pravdatiser,  (and Bluh will, you wait and see!), I hope more people will join the Talkswindon.org community and help us keep the Conservative-led council under the scrutiny it deserves and hold it to account when we find it not practising what it is preaching.

Anyway, Gav’s letter……

Budget response

The Coalition Government’s budget announcement earlier this week makes it clear that local authorities and other public services can expect a major reduction in their budgets. As soon as we have more detail about the implications of the budget I will ensure that we communicate with you through regular staff briefings and meetings.

I understand that it is an unsettling time for everyone; the changes to public sector pensions and the freeze on pay rises will be felt by all and for some people in particular the impact will be significant.

I can share with you some of the things that will be happening as part of our response to the challenge facing us. At the July 21st Cabinet meeting Elected Members will set out their strategic priorities for the Council. This will provide the context for the local debate about some of the tough budget decisions that Members will have to make. There will be a process for local people and all employees to have their say.

Work will also begin on producing a full, mid-year budget in October. Members would like to send a clear signal that we are serious about tackling our current and future challenges. In the meantime we must maintain a relentless focus on value for money and efficiency.

It is important that we continue to work together as a strong team to ensure that we secure the best outcomes for the people we serve. I will be honest and open with you about any changes that need to be made and hope you will all help us achieve them.

I will be holding a day of briefings on the 29th July to which all staff will be invited. I would like to use this opportunity to share any more detail we have on the implications of the budget and update you on the priorities that Members have set. It will also be an opportunity for you to share your concerns and valuable ideas. In the meantime please look out for further briefings which will give you more information, or talk to your line manager if you have any concerns.

Thank you for your continued hard work and support.

Gavin Jones.

Swindon Borough Council Chief Executive

Posted on
Friday, June 25th, 2010
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One Comment to “Leaked: #Swindontory budget fails – Chief Executive Announces Emergency Budget Plans”

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