Stamps of Disapproval

ARE there no limits to our glorious council’s ability to spectacularly shoot itself in the foot?

There might have been hopes that Weymouth and Portland’s public Achilles heel would be toned down by the heavily hyped new partnership with West Dorset but bloopers seem, if anything, to be getting worse.

Bad enough that staff at Weymouth Pavilion feel they have been shabbily treated by their bosses, but how much worse must they be feeling now after effectively being made to pay for their own redundancy notices?

The whole issue of job losses at the Pavilion is clearly a sensitive one….so why was it dealt with so insensitively?

There cannot be a single person in this town incapable of correctly attaching a stamp to an envelope yet the council somehow managed to make multiple such mistakes when sending out redundancy details to affected staff.

The first thing those staff knew about their noses actually being rubbed in their dire situation was when cards began to drop through letterboxes notifying them that they needed to collect post.

That was because it had stamps on it which were nine pence short of the required rate, the postal services also levying a £1 handling fee.

What it must have been like for employees to go down and pay £1.09 for post only to find it was their own redundancy notice doesn’t need much imagining.

They told me it was “appalling” and they said they didn’t know “whether to laugh or cry”.

They also said the council had been in touch, had apologised and had offered to reimburse anyone who had paid the £1.09, but staff said the whole scenario just added “insult to injury” because of the unenviable situation they found themselves in.

The point is, if staff being dispensed with can find themselves being treated like this, then no wonder I’ve been told by some remaining staff that they aren’t exactly chock full of confidence at the moment.

You’d have to have been living at the other end of the country not to be aware that Weymouth and Portland council is desperately trying to balance its budget books and is closing the Pavilion and selling off its own offices and the Guildhall as part of its attempts to do so.

So committing this gaffe when the watchword at the moment seems to be that “we’re all in this together” couldn’t have come at a worse time.

The only thing that people are now sure they are sharing with the council is what gardeners put round roses, something which, unlike money, does not seem to be in short supply at the council.

The official public line from senior officials at North Quay is that the whole thing was “an administrative error”, something an old boss of mine would have described as “ten out of ten for stating the bleeding obvious”.

The only good thing is that we are being reassured that this type of horrendous mistake happens very rarely…..until the next time.


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