COMMENT: Ashfield District Council chief executive responds to the Chad’s comment

NMAC10-2465-2''Kirkby Ashfield District Council Offices
NMAC10-2465-2''Kirkby Ashfield District Council Offices

Rob Mitchell, the chief executive of Ashfield District Council, has written an open letter to residents following criticisms of council services raised in a {|commentary article|Click here} in last week’s Ashfield Chad.

As chief executive officer at Ashfield District Council, I would like to respond to the comments made by the Chad last week, which paint an alarming picture for residents.

I would like to reassure people that the council promotes positive, respectful behaviours from politicians and officers of the council.

We are not complacent about behaviour and will challenge poor conduct when it happens.

We issue all councillors with a role description that outlines what is expected of them and provide training for councillors to help them in what is a difficult role. We also operate a code of conduct for elected members that sets out expected behaviours, supported by what is known as the Standards and Personnel Appeals Committee where allegations of inappropriate behaviour are eported.

As the new chief executive officer, I am keen to work with all our councillors to ensure the public is getting value for money from our services and that we earn the trust of the public for our transparency and accountability.

The new council corporate plan will feature a number of values which will help guide our organisation and continue to promote positive respectful behaviours.

The article, while providing a reminder of what the public should expect from our councillors, does not reflect the day-to-day behaviour of those who are dedicated to supporting their constituents.

There are also many examples of councillors working across their parties on community concerns.

I joined the council in June and to date the paper has not reported any behaviour issues to me.

In the future, I would encourage the Chad to ensure it contacts me with any problems so that we can address them.

The newspaper has the opportunity to play its part through responsible journalism and by refusing to engage with issues it considers as trivial. On substantive issues, it should support the public interest and help hold the council to account in a fair and equitable manner.

Finally, I would like to point out that while the council is by no means perfect,

I do not accept the statements made by the Chad insofar as the council delivers a good service in relation to street cleansing, grass cutting, parks and open spaces, regeneration and planning.

There is always more we can do and we will work with the paper and communities to do so.

However, the comments were unfair on the hardworking staff of the council and do not reflect our efforts to improve the quality of life for our residents.

I hope the Chad will be willing to report some of our good work in future editions.

Mansfield District Council has also hit back at the commentary article.