Our right to know

10:51 06 February 2012

I would like to respond to all of the people criticising the Journal’s coverage of the £5,000 of taxpayers’ money lost by the council representatives.

Many of last week’s letters gave support to the retiring town clerk and seemed to question the right of the local media and the amount of coverage given to the fact that £5,000 had gone astray under his watch.

A tremendous amount of back slapping and praise was published, which I don’t doubt he deserved, but that doesn’t take away the right of the public to know exactly what happened in this case.

Many of the correspondents last week openly questioned the right of councillors to even question and ask for an independent inquiry as to what happened. Well, isn’t that exactly what we elected them to do on our behalf?

It seems that many people believe that we should just put the loss of £5,000 down to an unfortunate mistake, but don’t we employ these people so these mistakes don’t happen?

For these people to say it’s an “unfortunate slip up, let’s forget about it”, simply doesn’t wash.

If these people were to discover £5,000 had gone missing from their bank account and were then told by their bank eight months later “we made a “mistake” and gave it to someone else - and it is too late to get it back - would they still have the same “oh well, what does it matter?” attitude. I think not.

They also ask what kind of message does it send to any incoming employee to this position. Hopefully this: be aware that we take very seriously any loss of taxpayers’ money and won’t tolerate any mistakes - in short, exactly the right message!

Mr T Irwine

Victoria Road, Exmouth.

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