Dear Gena Merrett
Yet again you seem to be attacking the Salford Star. Only, unlike last time - when you accused this publication of, basically, lying, and being a "key supporter of an extreme left-wing political party that aims to smash The Labour Council and the Labour Party" (see previous article here) - this time the Star isn't named, although you do quote from one of our articles about cuts to Salford Ranger Service…
On your website you have written that… "someone has led Salford Citizens (sic) to believe that their service was being 'decimated' and cut to 2 staff when this is clearly not the case. I hope that they have not been deliberately misled in order to raise yet another political protest against the council or to serve some sustained campaign against individual members of the Mayoral team." (see here for full article)
First of all, `decimated' actually means `cut by a tenth' which, of course, you as an ex Head Mistress should know. And the cuts you were originally proposing to the Ranger Service were more than a tenth, so maybe we played that down a bit. But that's by the bye…
Our real concern is how you tend to misrepresent a genuine campaign against cuts, led by the trade union and Friends of Parks and Moors, into some sort of personal vendetta against `individual members of the Mayoral team', presumably, yourself.
As far as the actual Rangers job cuts go, the figures have veered all over the place, mainly due to non-communication by the Council.
Back in February, the Rangers themselves stood up at a public meeting and said that there would be two of them left for the whole of Salford. This, as reported in the Salford Star, would have been "if the current cuts proposals go ahead" (see here). Following this, the Salford Star found minutes of a Council meeting stating that, while three Rangers posts were to be axed, two new posts were to be created for Rangers to do work around Media City. This, again, was duly reported, on 11th April (see here).
Residents quoted on the Star website were not happy that there was a shift in resources from outlying areas towards Media City, Salford University and areas next to Manchester Town Centre (see here), but no-one has said there would be "only two Park rangers left in Salford" – only in your accusations, Ms Merrett.
Furthermore, since the community campaign began, Salford Council, and you as Assistant Mayor for the Environment, have actually backed down from implementing the full cuts to the Rangers Service. The "political protest against the council" has actually been rather successful. A small victory, but a perfect example of how the community can influence Salford Council decisions.
In case you have forgotten, protest and accountability are part of the democratic process.
Steven North, Salford City UNISON branch secretary told Salford Star this morning… "One of the posts that was proposed for deletion has now been saved, meaning that there will be no compulsory redundancies in 2013 from the Rangers Service. We believe this has been achieved as a result of pressure from staff and members of the public in defence of this service.
"We still maintain the view that the two Irwell River Park posts should not be recruited from the current group of Rangers" he added "as we are concerned about the impact the loss of those two Ranger posts will have for the other areas of Salford."
Furthermore, Ms Merrett, it appears that you were quoting figures of Rangers' posts on your website, before Salford Council had actually formally approved them…
"As far as we are aware the decision has not yet been made to endorse any of these proposals" explained Steven North "And we hope that Councillor Merrett will listen to the views of the hundreds who have spoken in defence of the Rangers."
Gena Merrett, may the Salford Star assure you that there is no "sustained campaign against individual members of the Mayoral team", particularly yourself. The Star has only mentioned you in passing less than half a dozen times, apart from to defend ourselves against your ridiculous accusations.
If you were referring to the Salford Star, as the "someone" deliberately trying to `mislead people', we do hope that you were not trying to discredit us before Salford Council's Standards Committee looks into your last slur against this publication – if it ever does.
With Attitude and Love xxx