SNP skip over recycling problems and protest they’re in charge of everything
By Bill Heaney
West Dunbartonshire Council’s Civic Amenities sites at Dalmoak and Old Kilpatrick remain closed – and are likely to stay that way until at least the weekend.
Residents have been asked by SNP councillors not to attend these locations at Dalmoak and Old Kilpatrick with refuse or materials to be recycled until the Council advises they have re-opened.
An SNP statement says: “The Council plans to re-employ staff to reopen the Civic Amenities sites and continue delivering the Care of Gardens Scheme.
“The law requires a one week break in contract before we are permitted to take staff on, so the earliest these sites could possibly reopen would be Saturday.
“In lieu of doorstep collections resuming at our high rise properties, blue recycling bins have been provided and care-taking staff will assist anyone who needs help to get recyclable materials from their flat to the ground floor.
“Interim updates will be posted with a full briefing issued later in the week. Please keep an eye on the West Dunbartonshire Council page for the latest information.”
Meanwhile, the SNP administration who run the Council under the leadership of Cllr Jonathan McColl, have made it clear that they are in charge of council policy – and decision making.
It is a remarkable time to do so since the SNP’s troubles have been piling up over the summer and the fall-out from their annual Budget cuts is still being protested about and widely discussed.
The closure of the Greenlight company’s depots and the Care of Garden Scheme, which happened without their interference, is the latest event to attract wide public criticism and dismay.
A statement on social media states: “West Dunbartonshire Council’s SNP Administration have flipped the balance of power back to accountable elected representatives in a move being hailed as a ‘seismic shift’ in governance of the local authority.
“For the first time in West Dunbartonshire’s history the Council’s Standing Orders and Scheme of Delegation, the rules that dictate how decisions are made, have been amended to give Councillors more control.”
They claim the previous rules under Labour stated: “The Council has determined that all powers which are not specifically reserved to either Council, committee, subcommittee or joint boards are delegated to officers.”
And that: “Every attempt has been made to list the specific powers which are available to officers. However, if a specific power is not mentioned in this Scheme of Delegation, it does not necessarily mean that officers cannot exercise that power.
Neglected Levengrove Park and other public spaces caused uproar.
“Unless it has been specifically reserved at Council, or Committee, the power will still be delegated to officers.”
Cllr McColl said: “That meant that anything that wasn’t written down as being an area where Councillors would vote and make a decision, would be decided by the unelected, employed management of the Council.
The SNP have changed this to: “All powers are reserved to Council unless otherwise specified in this scheme, standing orders or legislation.”
Further: “Every attempt has been made to list the specific powers which are available to officers. However, if a specific power is not mentioned in this Scheme or Standing Orders, the matter will be referred to Council.”
He added: “This means that from now on, Council managers will only make those decisions that either the law dictates, or that democratically elected Councillors have voted to give them permission to make; putting the power firmly back in the hands of democratically elected Councillors.”
Cllr Jonathan McColl maintained: “This decision sees us delivering on yet another election commitment, to take back control from unelected Council managers and put it firmly in Councillors’ hands. The Chief Executive, Legal Officer and Democratic Services manager have all been extremely helpful in supporting us to make this change.
“Over the time of the previous Labour Administration, Officers found themselves left to run the Council with little or no guidance from an absentee Administration.
“We take our responsibilities far more seriously and this seismic shift in Council governance enshrines in Standing Orders, our commitment to do our job on behalf of the communities of West Dunbartonshire.”