A few days ago, we had an email from the members' secretary in Gateshead suggesting that anyone wishing to send seasonal greetings via email whilst making a donation to the mayor's charity instead of sending Xmas cards should send the email themselves. It was pointed out that the emails sent from the members' secretary actually appear as if they came from her, not the person wishing to send Xmas greetings.
This is a very sensible piece of advice. Were all 66 councillors to disregard this advice and ask her to send everyone Xmas greetings, she would have rather limited time left to do the real job of being members' secretary. And frankly, it is not the most challenging of tasks for councillors to do themselves. How long does it take to write a few lines of seasonal greetings and then click to send it to the all members mailing list?
So, a number of councillors in Gateshead have been raising eyebrows after reading an email from an officer of the council which was sent a couple of days ago:
Sent on behalf of Councillor XXX XXX
Councillor XXX XXX has asked that in lieu of Christmas Cards this year he will also be making a donation to the Mayor's charity.
Wishing you and your families all a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.
I've made this anonymous to spare the blushes of the councillor concerned (who is a member of the Cabinet!) but really, this is a bit much! A message sent to councillors containing sensible advice on how to avoid the council machinery getting bogged down in doing something which is not really something officers should have to do. And then shortly afterwards, the same advice is ignored by a cabinet member.
Maybe this councillor is so incredibly important and busy that the job of sending his Xmas greetings has to be delegated to officers to do. Frankly, I think the officer's time is better sent on other things.
Anyway, after this I guess I am no longer on this councillor's (delegated) Christmas (email) list!