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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - A SANER WORKING LIFE

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I refer to LGC's news story 'Troubled Cumbria to announce chief exec' (LGC, 23 July) in which it is stated I 'was f...
I refer to LGC's news story 'Troubled Cumbria to announce chief exec' (LGC, 23 July) in which it is stated I 'was forced to take early retirement'. The reporting language and innuendo is inaccurate and pejorative. My retirement was voluntary, based on three factors:

-- An unsustainable work/life balance: in my first year in Cumbria I was lead officer for public and voluntary sectors fighting foot and mouth disease, as well as chief executive. This left me exhausted before I even began the huge task of modernising a council light years off the pace. By the time the rewards came in, I already had medical advice to cut my workload.

-- A vitriolic press campaign: after foot and mouth disease, newspapers in Cumbria had nothing sensational to report until a reporter picked up on my salary increase. This was turned into a major, sustained and personal campaign against me, and an attack on the Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration. It eventually took a heavy toll on my professional and social life.

-- A devastating Social Services Inspectorate report on our childcare services: devastating primarily because both my social services department and senior SSI staff had indicated to both politicians and me that we were on track for improvement.

The report and its aftermath left me disillusioned and dispirited, and I decided early retirement was preferable to climbing another Cumbrian mountain. The leader's statement at the time - which you failed to publish - is generous and supportive.

I now enjoy a saner working life. I am sad it has proved impossible to find an appointable chief executive successor from a first-tier authority. Partly this is because of regional re-organisation, but it is also because of the irresponsible reporting of circumstances surrounding my retirement, which will have discouraged many potential applicants.

Louis Victory

Former chief executive, Cumbria CC

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