Goodway's officer and a bizarre letter to the Echo editor.Byline: Phillip Nifield Political and Business Editor
AN apparent dirty tricks dirty tricks
1. Covert intelligence operations designed to disrupt the economy or upset the political situation in another country.
2. campaign aimed at boosting Lord Mayor Russell Goodway's public image through the letters page of the South Wales Echo The South Wales Echo is a daily newspaper distributed in south Wales. It was founded in 1884 and is based in Thomson House, Cardiff city centre. It is published daily, in a tabloid form, by Media Wales Ltd (formerly Western Mail & Echo Ltd), part of the Trinity Mirror group. has been uncovered.
Its existence emerged after Mike Doel, Cardiff council's chief corporate support officer, admitted writing a letter for a Labour Party supporter to send to the Echo's Viewpoints page in support of the controversial Lord Mayor.
The Lord Mayor himself said he was not aware of the letter, but said it would not happen again.
The letter, sent from County Hall using the authority's own postal system postal system
System that allows persons to send letters, parcels, or packages to addressees in the same country or abroad. Postal systems are usually government-run and paid for by a combination of user charges and government subsidies. , was addressed to Rhiwbina resident Bill Kohnstamm, but sent by mistake to the Echo's Thomson House offices.
Inside the envelope was a letter from Mr Doel, whose salary is paid by council taxpayers and is supposed to show no political bias in his daily work.
The letter to Mr Kohnstamm, a Viewpoints contributor who attends meetings at County Hall as a member of the public, said: ``I wonder if you would mind sending off something along the lines of the attached. We intend a `series' of similar issues, getting the message across that the LM (Lord Mayor) can't be blamed for everything!!''
The letter appears to imply that the council was planning an orchestrated or·ches·trate
tr.v. or·ches·trat·ed, or·ches·trat·ing, or·ches·trates
1. To compose or arrange (music) for performance by an orchestra.
2. campaign to show the council leader in a good light.
Included was a letter for Mr Kohnstamm to sign and send off to the Echo, which aims to show that Mr Goodway receives blame for anything that is going wrong.
And it is not the first time that Mr Kohnstamm has written to the Echo in praise of the Labour-controlled council and Mr Goodway, who has faced bitter criticism from the public in the past few weeks over the pro-posed 12 per cent rise in council tax from April.
Letters to the Echo from Rhiwbina resident Mr Kohnstamm have been traced back more than four years.
When confronted by the Echo with the evidence, Mr Doel admitted he had written a letter but only after being contacted by Mr Kohnstamm.
But Mr Kohnstamm denied all knowledge of the correspondence.
Echo editor Alastair Mil-burn today announced a review of the paper's letters page. ``I find it incredible that the much respected letters page of the Echo, used by generations of South Wales South Wales south n → sud m du Pays de Galles people, could be abused in such a fashion.
``I must also reassure re·as·sure
tr.v. re·as·sured, re·as·sur·ing, re·as·sures
1. To restore confidence to.
2. To assure again.
3. To reinsure. readers that this paper has never manipulated the letters page and that if any suspicious letters have ever been published, it has not been of our making.''
THE Echo tackled council leader Russell Goodway and his chief corporate support officer Mike Doel on the letters scandal during a visit to the paper's Thomson House offices yesterday.
Mr Goodway was meeting the Echo's editor Alastair Milburn and political and business editor Phillip Nifield to discuss a number of council issues.
After the other matters were dealt with, Mr Nifield produced copies of the letters and gave them to Mr Doel and Mr Goodway, explaining how they had come into our possession.
This is how the conversation went:
PN: There has been a blatant attempt by the council to manipulate the letters page which we view with concern. What have you to say about that?
MD: Well, all right. Bill rang us and said he would like to send something in and said could we draft something? We helped him, yes. What can I say - you have got it there.
PN: We looked back at our letters over the years and we do get letters from Bill Kohnstamm praising Russell. It looks like there has been a concerted campaign which has been happening for several years to say what a great guy you are Russell and it involves you and officials.
RG: I don't think that is true. Firstly, it is not something I would condone condone v. 1) to forgive, support, and/or overlook moral or legal failures of another without protest, with the result that it appears that such breaches of moral or legal duties are acceptable. . It was not something I was aware of. I know that people do contact the council and say they are not happy with things that appear in the Echo and how can they make their voice heard.
I'm sure that happens across the divide. It won't happen again. But I detect from time to time campaigns which give the impression that they are directed from here (papers in Thomson House) because you print letters from people that don't exist. I have looked at the electoral roll electoral roll n → censo electoral
electoral roll n (Brit) → liste électorale
electoral roll n (BRIT because I want to write a personal letter and explain what the situation is but there is nobody of that name at that address. There have been times that letters appear in the Echo where the address does not exist. It is unacceptable. I will have to do what I have to do and hope that Alastair does what he has to do.
AM: This affects the credibility of the paper. I feel pretty hurt that a series of letters were proposed.
RG: I read the letters page. I know most of the letters are politically inspired. The Liberal Democrats Liberal Democrats, British political party
Liberal Democrats, British political party created in 1988 by the merger of the Liberal party with the Social Democratic party; the party was initially called the Social and Liberal Democratic party. I know have a list of people that they can write letters on behalf of. I guess they send them a copy. That is how they operate. The Liberal Democrats are well known for that type of activity. What else can I say? It won't happen again...
Chief corporate support officer is often seen at Goodway's side
MIKE Doel is one of Mr Goodway's most trusted officials.
The chief corporate support officer has a close working relationship with Mr Goodway and chief executive Byron Davies and is often at the council leader's side on official civic business.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Cardiff council's website, the purpose of corporate support is to ``ensure the provision of effective support'' for the leader of Cardiff, the cabinet, executive, chief executive and corporate managers. This covers areas of strategic and policy advice, research and information, administration, communications and media relations.
A team of press officers is responsible for producing the Capital Times, the council's monthly newspaper, and developing links with newspapers, TV and radio stations. The communications team develops the use of electronic communication systems. Within corporate support there is also a protocol office, providing support for civic functions and events.
POSTAL POLICY Echo editor Alastair Milburn with the letters.