The council administration set its budget yesterday, a very different budget to what had been predicted but still 82 staff will lose their jobs. Read The Buteman’s take on it here:
The Reform Group budget got 3 votes, ie from the 3 members of our group so at least we didn’t break ranks !
The SNP let us see their budget a full 30 minutes before the meeting and it was so badly presented it would have taken hours to work out what it really meant. So much for cooperation from the so called main opposition group. The first contact with us was late on Tuesday by way of a phone call and few details were given. However, what they wanted to protect were many of the things we wanted to protect but they would not give details. I emailed asking for a copy of their proposals 1st thing Wednesday morning and it was ignored. Had we had a reasonable time to consider it, we might have been able to support it.
What you need to know, though, is that the way the council constitution is structured you can only vote for one amendment. Had we been able to vote for all amendments, we could have voted for our own and the SNP’s, had we wanted to, but this just isn’t possible.
There needs to be some serious re-think by the SNP Group about some form of opposition to Walsh and his Lib Dem/Tory/so called independent rag bag administration. I can say that I have asked members of the group so many times to consider this but they won’t as yet play ball.
I feel for the staff losing their jobs and for those who, for many weeks, were left with the stress and worry over losing theirs only to find the threat lifted in a cynical move yesterday. This is deplorable behaviour and I hope Walsh and his administration give these staff an early assurance that the same shocking treatment won’t happen to them again next year. But don’t hold your breath.
The suggestion, relative to our budget, that chief officers might claim constructive dismissal was made again by Mr Hendry in the council chamber yesterday. I have this morning asked for some justification of this, why no mention was made of staff other than chief officers and why this was only mentioned the day before the meeting, when officers have had our proposals for three weeks.
Yesterday was an opportunity lost for major reform of this council.