A Lichfield councillor has been criticised after questioning the lack of a civic car.
In an email to his colleagues, Cllr Derick Cross said “everything seems to be falling apart and going downhill” after highlighting the fact no vehicle was currently available to civic leaders.
The local authority is awaiting an electric vehicle to become available to replace the previous car.
But Cllr Cross’ comments have been criticised by other members of the council.
Labour’s Cllr Dave Robertson said the Alrewas and Fradley ward member had got his priorities wrong given the challenges of inflation and rising energy bills residents are facing, adding: “Words fail me.”
Cllr Joanne Grange, independent member for Chadsmead ward, said:
“Apart from the obvious issues with entitlement, it’s a big leap from there not being a civic car available to ‘everything seems to be falling apart’.
“If it is, Cllr Cross should maybe check the colour of his rosette and consider why.”Cllr Joanne Grange, Lichfield District Council
Civic car debate rumbles on
The future of taxpayer-funded travel for civic leaders has long been an issue of debate at the council, with a 2016 review seeing the vehicle downgraded from a Jaguar to a Ford Mondeo.
Cllr David Leytham, who chaired the overview and scrutiny committee and is a former chairman of the council, had previously described the civic car as “absolutely essential”.
A meeting on the issue at the time also saw Cllr Joseph Powell suggest the vehicle was more than just a perk of the job for civic leaders:
“It’s important that we make it clear that the car isn’t used for just having drinks and nice meals – we use it for lots of very useful meetings with the council, such as visiting homosexual groups.”Cllr Joseph Powell speaking at a Lichfield District Council meeting in 2015
More recently, a former chairman and leader of the council said the civic car was “an essential tool of the trade” after Cllr Rob Birch had suggested it was “pretentious and costly”.