Competent? !!

Yesterday’s area committee touched a new low as far as I was concerned. Not only did we hear a very good argument from the public about getting a move on to resurface the Dunoon 5 a side cages, we also got the usual arguments from the council leader as to why we could not do things faster. Things move at Walsh’s pace or not at all, and to hang with local opinion.

However, the worst part was at the end. There is a piece of ground at Graham’s Point in Kilmun which was mistakenly transferred to the housing association ACHA when the council house stock was transferred in 2006. A few months ago this mistake seems to have come to the fore and Cllr Marshall was told that since ACHA owned the land, the council would no longer cut the grass. ACHA neither want the land nor the job of maintaining it as I understand matters.

At the business day in January the issue came up and although I wasn’t there, Cllr Marshall told me that Cllr Walsh opposed any move to rectify the error and take the land back into council ownership thereby unblocking any reason for the council not cutting the grass.

Bruce asked me some weeks ago if I would second a motion asking the council to take the land back into our ownership. It was a very simple and non contentious motion I thought but little did I know what was to come. The motion was accepted by council governance staff and by the chair, Cllr MacNaughton, one of the nodding heads to everything Cllr Walsh wants done. That normally means it’s passed any test of competence. It appeared in the published papers a week ago on Tuesday. You can see it for yourself here:

https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/moderngov/documents/g7250/Public%20reports%20pack%20Tuesday%2007-Feb-2017%2009.30%20Bute%20and%20Cowal%20Area%20Committee.pdf?T=10

On Monday, Bruce got an email from a council officer suggesting there might be a conflict of interest since he is on the board of ACHA. For the life of me I could not see why there was any conflict, nor did Bruce. Bruce promptly replied saying so but a few hours later he got another reminder quoting from the code of conduct, but Bruce held his ground. At no point in these 2 emails was there any mention of competence of the motion, nor had there been any mention when it was lodged.

However, out of the blue yesterday when we got to the motion on the agenda, the governance officer advised the chair that it wasn’t competent. A bit of a debate broke out at this but the chair ruled it was incompetent based on the officer’s advice.

Given that this was the first mention of competency, did someone put pressure on governance officers to try the conflict of interest argument first and then, when that failed, were they put under more pressure to ensure the motion wasn’t voted on? Who knows but the people of Kilmun won’t be at all happy.

I think what happened yesterday raises major questions about the governance of the council and I submitted a complaint to the chief executive yesterday afternoon. This has all the hallmarks of a blatant piece of behind the scenes shenanigans that is undemocratic and unacceptable. The smirk on Walsh’s face, directed very deliberately at me when he left the meeting, makes me think he just might be involved. Surely not!

Author: Michael Breslin

I am no longer a councillor with Argyll & Bute Council but given the appalling treatment I got from the senior officers and a few elected members, I plan to continue keeping an eye on what the council is doing.

2 thoughts on “Competent? !!”

  1. Classic story of mind games… they make a big thing out of little things it is part of hanging on to every last drop of power and control, the weaker they get the more obsessed with control Walsh becomes. It won’t really matter what the issue is, you do x they will do y. It is all as plain as the smirk on his face.

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