Comment on Scrutiny into council credt card bill from above
Dear Mr Peter Martin,
We don't want to fall out.
We fear news that your staff at County Hall spent £5,136,145 on corporate charge cards in 27 months is coming between us.
Our role, surely, is to probe council finances on behalf of the taxpayer.
In anticipation of our face-to-face chat, here are some of the points we feel need explaining to give you some time to prepare.
We are not saying staff spending £340,000 of taxpayer's money in Tesco, £3,800 in nightclubs, and £372 at a Chelmsford noodle bar is wrong – just that it needs explanation.
This week we have been offered some enlightenment by your council.
You claim £2.1m of the money spent on purchase cards was for children's services and a further £1.6m was for fees in court proceedings for children in care.
Is it normal to be spending that much on court fees?
That of course still leaves £1.4 million and hardly quashes public fears that money is being wasted on quirky frivolities.
Remember the £35 spent on one child's haircut? Or the £17.50 spent in La Senza?
What about the £840 on historic weaponry from a firm in Derbyshire?
How can these be justified?
So, and in the spirit of reconciliation, we renew our calls for a detailed breakdown of this spend.
Then, we think, we might just get along.
Yours sincerely, on behalf of Essex Chronicle readers