"We don't have to do a business plan this year, so you'll know our business priorities.""No we don't manage the resource base of the library service. Though we could empower you to control those resources if we wanted to.""You shouldn't be asking us to provide a lead on whole service development priorities. What's the point of us having specialist officers if they won't take responsibility?"
And the perennial favourite:
"I'm not going round asking people if there are any problems. There are more than enough problems as it is without going looking for them."