Fire chief Tony McGuirk's "drivel" email blunder
Merseyside's Chief Fire Office Tony McGuirk has committed one of those email blunders that happens to us all at some point.
Today we report how he ended up forwarding, what was supposed to be a private response to a councillor, to a former member of staff making a complaint about the way the sacking of an officer had been dealt with.
Mally Swann - who retired five years ago after a 30-year career - emailed a Fire Authority member saying he thought the service overreacted by sacking Mr Hughes.
The councillor apparently forwarded Mr Swann's email to CFO McGuirk asking for advice about how to reply.
But in a private comment, also sent to Mr Swann, the chief said: "Malcolm is a very long serving union official and activist who retired a while ago and this sort of outpouring of drivel is pretty typical stuff.
"Why let facts get in the way of a good old whine!! He is clearly wrong in his understanding but we will not be commenting on this matter because Mr Hughes is in the middle of an appeal process and it would be inappropriate to comment."
CFO McGuirk also suggested warning Mr Swann persistent emailing could be a criminal offence.
This raises a wider issue as well though. Is it right for a councillor to email the chief officer to ask for his opinion on a matter like this?
Councillors are supposed to be on the Fire Authority to scrutinise chief fire officers like Mr McGuirk not just ask for their opinions on the matter of the day.