The shirt off my back...

I used to be the director of financial services at Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council. Fortunately I left in 2005, before the Council descended into its latest crisis. I have, as a result of my time there, a number of examples of good and bad financial management (and, indeed, good and bad leadership). I use such stories when I’m teaching to bring some life to the theory.


Anyway, here’s a quick story. I suspect every council has a handful of local residents whose grievance about paying council tax leads them to be regular correspondents. Generally speaking, as the director I would only see letters that were addressed to me if they required my personal attention; most letters going straight to the department that would be able to deal with them. One letter I did see came from a resident who stated his annual annoyance at the level of the council tax but this particular year he finished by saying that the council “might as well have the shirt off my back.” And enclosed with the letter was a brand new, white shirt wrapped in cellophane.


Of course, a shirt not being legal tender and council officers not being able to accept gifts, I had to return the shirt. The story still makes me laugh, though.