Readers Letter: How many workers to erect lamp post?

Every week in the Guardian we have an article from either Alan Rhodes or someone else in a high position within the council telling us they are having to make cuts to services due to government cutbacks.

May I suggest they look at some of the inefficient and downright money wasting items the council is funding. Firstly, and you couldn’t make this up, our Highways Department’s latest blunder. In the earlier hours of January 1st, I was awoken by a loud bang and flashing lights which then extinguished on Farmer’s Branch, near to where I live. On investigation, once it was light, I found a car embedded into a lamp post which was now leaning at a precarious angle. Having checked there was no one in the car I went round to the police station to report the incident as I thought the lamp post was in danger of falling across the road. Within a couple of hours the car had been removed by a recovery vehicle and two council vehicles arrived to cut the lamp post down and disconnect the power, all well and good up to that point then, true to form, chaos stepped in. Nothing happened until February 17th, after a power cut and a large hole had been dug near the cut off lamp post, when again two council vehicles arrived and erected a new lamp post, beside the cut off lamp post but did not connect it up , then low and behold on the February 26th two more council vehicles arrived and for some reason, that I cannot understand, removed the perfectly good new lamp post and replaced it with another one, which is still not connected up and the stump of the original one still remains. The following day I rang the Highways Department to report the situation and to enquire as to what was happening to be met with “I’m sorry I don’t know anything about it but I will make a note and report it for an inspector to come out and look at it but this will take up to 10 working days!” What a way to run a department and how much has it cost up to press and we still haven’t got the street light working!

My second point on money wasting, is in these days of drastic cutbacks, who thought it was good value to erect a sculpture (which I understand cost in excess of £4,000 alone) on a viewing point on the site of the old Shireoaks pit to be able to look over to where all the old pit sites in the area were?

I think some of the decision makers in the council need a bit of work experience in the commercial private sector to learn what efficiency and cost effective running of an operation is like, in other words THE REAL WORLD !

Tony Clayton

(via email)