I regret the fact that this blog seems in many ways to be one that is having a go at Cllr Walsh but the reality is that much of what goes on in Argyll & Bute revolves around his way of operating. That way of operating seems designed to ensure that he has maximum power and control, to nobody’s surprise. This appears to have been the way things have worked in Argyll & Bute for many years as far as I can see so let me illustrate some of the things I mean.
On a number of occasions he has found a way to bypass at least 4 elected members, myself and Cllrs McIntyre, Dance and Marshall. There is a generally accepted ratio of administration councillors to opposition councillors when appointments are made to committees etc but by passing the 4 of us, Cllr Walsh disenfranchises 4 councillors and he is aided and abetted in this by the SNP Group accepting this unfair ratio. The SNP Group is therefore helping Cllr Walsh whether they know it or not. But they should know, and they ought not to do it.
Have a look at the correspondence below as but one example:
From: Breslin, Michael Sent: 14 May 2015 12:19 To: Walsh, Dick Cc: Hendry, Douglas; Macintyre, Neil; Dance, Vivien; Marshall, Bruce Subject: Ratio of administration to opposition
Cllr Walsh, can you explain to us please why you have an 8:4 ratio for, say, the project board we’ve been in correspondence over and why all 4 opposition places were offered to the SNP Group? The ratio is correct but the way it’s been used is not.
There are 13 members in the opposition, ie myself, Bruce, Vivien and Neil plus the 9 SNP members but with the 4 places being offered to the SNP Group the 4 of us have effectively been cut out of things, no doubt by accident. I know that 3 of the 4 have never been taken into account so I assume Neil is in the same position.
No reply from Cllr Walsh so a reminder is sent on 20 May:
From: Breslin, Michael Sent: 20 May 2015 12:35 To: Walsh, Dick Cc: Hendry, Douglas; Macintyre, Neil; Dance, Vivien; Marshall, Bruce Subject: RE: Ratio of administration to opposition
Can you reply to this please Cllr Walsh?
He replies on 20 May as follows:
From: Walsh, Dick Sent: 20 May 2015 17:14 To: Breslin, Michael Cc: Hendry, Douglas Subject: RE: Ratio of administration to opposition [OFFICIAL]
The minute of the Policy and Resources Committee and the public record is clear in terms of the democratic decision that was taken. You now acknowledge that the ratio of 8: 4 is correct. The membership of the Project Board represents 90% the membership of the Council.
I reply as follows:
That isn’t right or proper Cllr Walsh.
I need the monitoring officer’s views please Douglas.
I think it’s fair to say that I cannot be bothered with all of this. I would rather be working for the people of the area but on the other hand why should he get away with his way of working when it’s so blatantly undemocratic?