Councillor Cheryl Butler has written a response letter to a criticisms made against Ashfield District Council in a commentary article published in last week’s Ashfield Chad.
As leader of Ashfield District Council, I write in response to your article in last week’s Chad.
I agree we are here to represent Ashfield, and a number of recent initiatives introduced by us and reported in your paper, bear testament to this; however, I feel your report is not reflective of how Ashfield operates.
While there are obvious political differences, otherwise why would we stand against each other during elections, the picture you paint of tit for tat is not true.
There has been a move to work more collaboratively with other groups since I became leader in May 2015. For instance I have initiated group leader meetings.
This is a chance for all leaders to have input into the agenda and to have the opportunity to discuss and be informed of what is happening or due to happen within Ashfield.
We have also recently invited members of both the main opposition group and the Conservatives to be involved in groups such as our Welfare Reform Working Group, Locality Plans and also cross-party Leisure Centre Consultation.
We also invited the leader of the Conservatives to be our audit committee chairman, a position he accepted.
We also work collaboratively with other councils, including Newark and Sherwood and Mansfield, both of which are not Labour controlled.
We do this because it gives us a better deal for our residents in terms of both finance and service delivery.
However, I was elected because I am a Labour Party member and believe in the values of my party.
Being in the majority group allows me to have a mandate to make decisions based on these principles.
It would be wrong of me to not uphold these principles when considering what the right decisions for the residents and businesses of Ashfield are.
Even if in the end we can’t please everybody, we will have made the decision in the knowledge that it has been considered as the best outcome for Ashfield.