CAN I do something rarely seen in your letters column – namely write in praise of local councillors and council officers?
Last week another correspondent was quick to criticise Lancing parish councillors this time, needing a “kick up the backside” for the absence of Beach Green bank-holiday markets (where was she this week?) and the state of the old Mermaid Cafe, which is in any case owned privately, not by the council.
Alas, these lazy errors are never corrected and councillors and officers (and often MPs) are the fall guys.
Last week three exceptional local public servants stood down.
Debbie Kennard has been a fantastic, high-octane and usually noisy chairman of Adur over the past year.
She has been a great ambassador for our district, raised the profile and funds for local good causes and managed to be a young mum – and hold down a job, too.
In Worthing, Ann Sayers, as she constantly reminded me, is well into her 70s, has turned up tirelessly to hundreds of events and done the mayoralty proud as its 94th holder.
Neither sought praise and certainly there was no financial reward in it.
While the Herald’s pages have been excellent in the coverage of their activities, it is a shame, though, that those quick to carp in your columns do not temper their negativity with praise where praise is due.
We have also been fortunate to have at the helm of Adur, as well as more recently Worthing, Ian Lowrie, who retired last week after almost 14 successful years as chief executive.
Ian arrived in Adur six months after I was first elected and we have always enjoyed a strong working relationship.
Over that time he has led the transformation of the councils into two independent bodies which have developed a joint working blueprint now being copied up and down the country.
Together, we punch above our weight while promoting quality services in challenging times and saving the local council taxpayer millions in running costs to be ploughed back into the area.
Though it is unfashionable to acknowledge, Ian has been one of the lower-paid chief executives in the country, and while his contribution to local government has been fêted more nationally than locally, it would be nice, as with Debbie and Ann, to pass on our thanks and good wishes from their own back yard.
MP for East Worthing and Shoreham