A COUNCIL leader who made a cost-cutting move to ban colour printing has told how she overheard an irate employee ask “which idiot” had made the decision.

Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council, told cabinet members of her run-in with the disgruntled council employee after she introduced a policy to reduce printing costs.

The Cabinet had met on Tuesday and approved consultation on the authority’s 2020/21 budget which includes cost saving proposals alongside a 1.99 per cent to council tax increase and changes to charges across the borough.

Leafing through his committee papers, Cllr Glyn Nightingale pointed that one particular graph was difficult to interpret because it was in black and white.

Cllr Lanigan, said: “Glyn it’s my fault. When we looked at printing, of course it costs very little to do black and white.

“It costs a great deal to do colour, so we did look right across the departments. In one of the departments I visited, I got quite a strange remark from one of our staff, I won’t go into details, but it wasn’t very complimentary.

“The back part of it was ‘which idiot decided to take off the colour printing?’ I went, ‘actually it was me’.”

The cabinet members laughed as Cllr Lanigan explained how the awkward encounter unfolded.

She continued: “He wasn’t phased at all by that and I asked ‘why?’He said ‘because we can’t do our jobs properly’. I said show me an example. And out of the paperwork that he actually had, there was one word that was earmarked in red in a series of about ten A4 double-sided papers.”

Cllr Lanigan said she gave the employee a pen to highlight the word in question.

“He did laugh,” said Cllr Lanigan, adding: “I don’t think he was that amused but he did accept that.”

Cllr Nightingale said he was satisfied that the black and white graph was available in full colour on the downloaded version of the cabinet papers. “That’s another reason why we should all be using our laptops,” he said. Moving onto the next item on the agenda, Cllr Lanigan gave some final thoughts.

“I could tell by his face he wasn’t being complimentary, no matter what words he had used,” she said.

“He was quite irate. Even when I explained the situation he was still irate.”