Yesterday’s post (read here) has kick started a response from Michael Russell MSP. Overnight he has solicited support from people he was able to contact so that the press release below could be issued before any notification from the Ethics and Standards Commissioner. I am very grateful for this and reproduce the press release as supplied to me an hour or so ago:
From Heather Wolfe
Media release on behalf of Michael Russell MSP
Date 28/05/2015 Immediate Use
4 MSPs, an MP and 7 Councillors serving Argyll & Bute publicly challenge Council Chief Executive’s “unwelcome, unwise, unjustified and unacceptable” letter to Cllr Michael Breslin.
This Public Statement regarding the letter from the Chief Executive of Argyll & Bute Council to Cllr Michael Breslin has been agreed by a number of elected representatives serving Argyll & Bute, who are as follows:
Michael Russell MSP (Argyll & Bute) Mike MacKenzie MSP. (Regional Member, Highlands & Islands) Jean Urquhart MSP. (Regional Member, Highlands & Islands) John Finnie MSP ( Regional Member, Highlands & Islands) Brendan O’Hara MP (Argyll & Bute) Cllr Isobel Strong (former Provost, Argyll & Bute, SNP Bute) Cllr Robert MacIntyre (Convener, Bute & Cowal Area Committee, Independent, Bute) Cllr Vivien Dance (Independent , Helensburgh Central) Cllr Bruce Marshall (Independent , Cowal) Cllr Gordon Blair (SNP, Cowal) Cllr Iain Maclean (SNP Oban North) & Lorn) Cllr Iain Angus MacDonald (SNP Oban North)
“Cllr Michael Breslin has published on his website a letter he has received from Sally Loudon, the Chief Executive of Argyll & Bute. It contains notice that she and her management team have referred Cllr Breslin to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in respect of his “conduct in relation to the disposal of the Castle Toward Estate, Rothesay Harbour and the pay and conditions of care at home workers” and that she is concerned about what she claims are Cllr Breslin’s “sustained, repeated and public criticism of council officers.”
Should the Commissioner agree to investigate this complaint we would not be able to comment on the matter in public. However as no investigation has started we wish to make it known publicly, as elected representatives in Argyll & Bute, that we regard Michael as an exceptional and diligent councillor who is working very hard for his constituents and for the people of Argyll & Bute. He has been subject to much pressure from the Council leadership over recent months because of his strong advocacy for local communities with regard to important local issues. It is greatly to his credit that he has refused to be deterred from speaking the truth as he sees it and we applaud his determination to ensure that the problems of the Council – and solutions to those problems – are known and debated across Argyll & Bute.
Any attempt to silence Cllr Breslin such as this letter from the Council Chief Executive is in our view unwelcome, unwise, unjustified and unacceptable and represents a further worrying development in the departure of Argyll & Bute from best standards and practice of democracy and governance. These tactics should be strongly resisted by all who care about the area and its future.
We intend to write in support of Cllr Breslin to the Commissioner and to draw the attention of Audit Scotland to this development which is germane to its continuing investigation of the Council. We will also write to the Scottish Government expressing concern about the letter in the name of the Council Chief Executive and her 3 Executive Directors which we believe is harmful to the people they are employed to serve.”
Media enquiries to
Parliamentary Office of Michael Russell MSP, Argyll and Bute
Tel 0131 348 5738