Councillor ‘sacked’ over Christmas card comments

Philip Skinner offended EDDC’s leader Sara Randall Johnson and is no longer the district’s Rural Champion.

A COUNCILLOR has been sacked from his role as Rural Champion at East Devon District Council after he offended the authority’s leader with comments he wrote in a Christmas card.

Conservative Philip Skinner, who represents the Talaton area, sent the card to Sara Randall Johnson and headed it “My greatest adversary”.

He went on to write: “The rest I can demolish in my sleep, but you are in a class of your own.

“Despite our forever on-going spats, that I and I’m sure you enjoy, I do have a huge amount of respect for you.

“Roll on February.

“Hope you are well. Don’t take the world on, on your own, it’s not worth the personal cost.

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“It’s business not personal.”

Councillor Skinner ended the letter with two kisses and two footnotes, the last of which stated: “If only things had turned out different, we’d have made one hell of a team.”

Councillor Randall Johnson informed councillors of her decision to sack Councillor Skinner in an email sent out on New Year’s Day.

She wrote: “I wanted you to know that I have reluctantly had to take the Rural Champion position away from Philip Skinner. We met on Thursday afternoon when I hoped he would have taken the honourable route, but he declined.

“The reason for doing this lay in a disagreement over a message he sent in a Christmas card. I was disappointed and concerned at its tone towards members of the council.

“Being called “my biggest adversary” is something I can well shoulder, but I am not prepared for all members to be so summarily dismissed. This is not tolerable and why I felt it necessary to take such a drastic step.”

Councillor Skinner declined to comment when The Herald contacted him.

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