18 OCTOBER 1940, Page 13

TOWN CLERKS IN WAR - TIME Sm,—The tribute which " Janus "

pays to Town Clerks in a recent Spectator will be confirmed by those who are watching Local Government under war conditions. But I don't think it is generally realised that, at a time when their organising duties are exceptionally heavy and they are working day and night at maximum pressure, they are being mercilessly deprived of many of their experienced key men who can pass the medical tests for fighting. However competent the chief official may be, he cannot perform his own functions or the duties of his Local Authority without a trained and competent staff, and at this juncture these functions and duties are an essential part of the country's protective war work. The real question is, or should be—is it in the circumstances in the national interest that these men should be removed from one form of public service to another form for which they are yet untrained?

Having been myself a Town Clerk for over 3o years, I can appreciate the dilemma chief officials of Local Authorities are in by the disintegration of their staffs (especially when the market is at its worst for effecting replacements), but to indicate that I am not only expressing a personal opinion, I may say that I recently heard many Town Clerks express their dismay at the process of dis- couragement, that the Ministry of Health, with its responsibility for efficient Local Government, is so unhelpful in so grave a matter.—