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Robust Management in place, say Chairman

Fire Authority Chairman Anthony Hedley has stepped in to reassure the public that the fire service has robust management arrangements in place during the absence of its Chief Fire Officer.

His statement follows a misleading and inaccurate account of fire service leadership arrangements in yesterday’s Colchester Gazette, which quoted UKIP Fire Authority member Kerry Smith criticising the Service over a number of issues.

“I would like to correct Press inaccuracies and put matters into proper context,” said Councillor Hedley today. “The Chief Fire Officer has been on sick leave since March and since then the Service is being ably led by his deputy, DCFO Adam Eckley, who has been acting up and is able to discharge the duties of the CFO during his absence.

“There is no crisis of leadership and to suggest so is disingenuous to say the least. It is no secret that a major Police investigation is having an unsettling impact on the Service and this is not the time for political point scoring.”

The offending article criticised Senior Managers over the cars they drive and the fact that they were recently awarded a one per cent pay rise in line with rises given to all ECFRS staff. “To put the record straight, there has been no Fire Authority decision to give senior leaders expensive new cars as long standing Fire Authority members will be aware.

“We reviewed the Service’s car provision scheme and actually lowered the cap on vehicle value which is why there was new focus on vehicle arrangements. In relation to the pay review, this was the first rise in four years and in line with remuneration this year for everyone,” said Councillor Hedley.

“I am aware that new members of the Authority will be wanting to make their mark but pedaling inaccurate information to local papers is not the way to go about it – there are more valuable ways they can be serving the communities that elected them and supporting Authority members in their efforts to ensure ECFRS delivers a quality, value for money service to the council tax payers of Essex. Of course there should be challenge and I would not wish to stifle political debate providing truth and accuracy remain a given.”

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