YOU could never accuse Torbay mayor Gordon Oliver of not being willing to court controversy — but, boy, has he stirred up a hornet's nest this time.
Mr Oliver's latest offering is to cut the council's cash backing for the English Riviera Tourism Company to just £250,000 next year.
He even wants to reduce it to zilch the following year, a move which it is feared would blow it out of the water.
The proposal has had Torbay's tourism and holiday industry jumping up and down in despair, frustration and anger.
We aren't talking about a Mickey Mouse outfit or industry here.
The privately-led tourism company helps drive and support business which is worth £400,000,000 a year to the English Riviera and provides 11,000 jobs.
The ERTC, which has already made savings, has people who are passionate about putting the Riviera on the UK and European holiday map and they have notched up some noticeable successes.
Besides making little sense to some key players in the industry, it could also land the council with a messy legal battle as the ERTC reckons the local authority will be in breach of a legal cash support agreement which was drawn up when the ERTC was first formed.
It could also get particularly messy for Mr Mayor Oliver.
The sorry saga has raised questions over a possible conflict of interests for him.
He owns property and some of that falls within the tourism industry.
When there has been discussions in council about the likes of the Torquay Town Hall regeneration scheme he has declared an interest because he owns property in the area.
Should he be deciding on tourism matters if he has tourism-related property in the same vein, is the question?
One property lies in Belgrave Road in Torquay, the road which is home to the Torbay Tourism Association which is run by Linda Hill — mayor Oliver's partner. The property is owned by Mr Oliver's family.
In no way am I going to introduce anybody's private life into politics, but in a way Mr Oliver did that himself.
He decided to hand over a decision as to whether the council should put money into the recent Miss England event to his deputy because it was run by Ms Hill and there may have been a potential clash of interests.
The tourism association, formerly known as the Torbay Hospitality Association, are well known players in the holiday industry.
Should the mayor be anywhere near making decisions or setting policies which may potentially have an impact on an organisation led by his partner is another question being raised?
As you are beginning to realise, it's all a bit complicated.
Torbay Labour councillor Darren Cowell has raised concerns over a possible conflict of interest.
He has fired off questions to the Town Hall hierarchy and has officially asked: "Can you please provide opinion on any potential conflict of interest when dealing with proposals for the ERTC budget?"
The mayor may no doubt take all this on the chin and crack on with what he considers is the best way to tackle huge cuts in council spending.
But it could also be becoming a bit messy behind the scenes and even from within his own ranks of the Tory group where some of his staunchest allies may be wondering what is coming next.
His vision to transform part of the Goodrington tourist area into a road and rail freight business (again I am not using the word 'port') was not met with enthusiasm by the group.
It was subsequently taken out of the master plan for Torbay's harbours.
And I gather there has been somewhat of a lukewarm, to put it mildly, reception from top Tories to his plans to reduce the cash support to the ERTC.
I understand there was an informal meeting of the executive group — the mayor's cabinet in as many words — comprising nine leading Tories where the ERTC move was raised.
I understand he struggled to find one supporter and that included some councillors who have stood by him through thick and thin.
Don't get me wrong, Mr Oliver still has support from within the Tory group.
But there is some speculation some councillors may walk if he forges ahead with the ERTC policy. The feeling is that strong.
The council and the mayor are in a no-win situation as they look to make savings as millions of government cash is axed.
And nobody is questioning Mr Oliver's overall support for the holiday industry.
His plan is to make Torbay the events destination of the UK and he has made great strides in that direction.
He has spent millions of pounds on re-opening the Torquay promenade and thousands on that palm tree making the gateway into Torquay more attractive.
The ERTC is key to all that and making tourism pay in the Bay.
All that investment may be wasted if it wasn't there playing its huge part.
What's more, is mayor Oliver dicing with political danger if he forges ahead?
Questions, questions, questions...