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Peeved Sandwell Council supremo takes ball home over blog storm
THE chief executive of Sandwell Council has decided to address employees behind closed doors after being infuriated his daily blog was being reported by the News.
Jan Britton, who gets paid £139,000 a year by the taxpayer, began blogging in the public domain last year and most days would give a fascinating insight into the challenges the council faced.
However, after the News began using his blog as a news source the chief executive decided to ban members of the public reading his thoughts which has lead to criticisms about his attitude to transparency.
Mr Britton said: “I have become increasingly unhappy about the way items and discussions on my blog are being used as news by the local media.
“I do not think it is helpful for the council to have some of the ideas and options council employees discuss on the blog presented as policies or news stories.
He added: “The blog was always intended to be a place for employees. “Therefore, with regret, I have decided to remove the blog from public view on the internet either by migrating it onto the Council’s intranet or placing it behind a secure firewall.”
Members of the public, hungry for his engaging prose about council life, are now asked for a username and password and are unable to sign up. And those who had signed up for the daily email bulletin of his musings have found them no longer gracing their inbox.
Independent Socialist councillor for Langley Mick Davies blasted the move to stop informing the public about decision making concerning taxpayers money.
He said: “Why shouldn’t Sandwell residents and council taxpayers be informed about the debate within council.
“I can see an issue if discussions are presented as policy but this could be easily overcome.”
He added: “Obviously transparency and accountability is only a good thing when the chief executive says it’s a good thing.
“Obviously there must be more people reading the Halesowen News than read his blog or it wouldn’t be an issue at all.”