PUBLIC ACCESS TO COUNCIL MEETINGS

SNP councillors at the Titan Crane

The SNP Group who made the decision to limit the number of people who will be allowed to attend the public meeting on Wednesday.

NOTEBOOK by Bill Heaney

Having decided that allegations of graft and corruption are not worth talking about, Provost William Hendrie has agreed to accept a motion from his fellow SNP member, Councillor Iain McLaren, in relation to the Burgh Hall.

This is the same Burgh Hall that Provost Hendrie hopes not too many members of the public turn up at on Wednesday of this week at 2pm for the monthly council meeting.

The reason is that the Burgh Hall is not fit for the purpose for which it was intended, which was to accommodate hopefully large public meetings.

The public have been told to luxuriate in their own homes and listen to a dodgy live broadcast of the meeting, edited by the Provost, where there will be no mention of officials playing golf and eating out in luxurious restaurants and hotel dining rooms.

This was luxury they could afford with a contractor who was awarded more than £7 million of Council contracts while failing to go through the laid down procurement processes.

They paid their own share, they told the council auditors.

There is great money to be made working in the higher echelons of the public sector, particularly in areas where there is lots of deprivation and things like food banks around.

Nothing to see here then, move along and don’t bother turning up for the Council meeting where you will witness little more than us, shy, retiring, self-effacing politicians to a man and woman patting themselves on the back. Again.

The Council love blowing their own trumpet and they welcome awards ceremonies, especially the ones where they are on the receiving end.

Awards are an industry all on their own these days. Ask Jonathan McColl how much has been set aside in the SNP budget for hospitality at these bun fights.

Not much will be made of the fact that the public audience will be limited to just 30 at this Council meeting.

It’s either that or you could be left standing out in Church Street in the rain for maybe four hours or so while the wee Provost keeps his chain warm and cosy.

The Council’s number cruncher,  who have little or no problem with compiling figures for council tax and rent increases,  must surely have slipped it into a paper somewhere informing the members that 90,000 people live in West Dunbartonshire.

And a reasonable proportion of the population turn out at election time to vote them into their well-paid sinecures.

Not to mention that it has cost £15 million (and counting) of public money to build the Burgh Hall.

Cllr McLaren’s motion, by the way, follows on from the Scottish Property Awards.

It states that the Council will note the award presented at the 2019 Scottish Property Awards for “Regeneration Project of the Year” “in recognition of the outstanding work undertaken to redevelop the former Dumbarton Academy building into new offices for the Council”.

It adds that the Council “congratulates our staff, our partner Hub West Scotland and all involved in the project for their achievement, and thanks them for their excellent efforts and hard work in bringing this project to fruition”.

What about the public who paid for it all and whose idea it was in the first place?

Not a mention in motion of the public however.

The motion will be discussed after the Council have most probably kicked lumps out of the terms and conditions of its workforce, whose overtime at Christmas and New Year especially (a time of fellowship and goodwill?) will be cut in the name of austerity.

Pass the Rioja and champagne, Jimmy, and tell the waiter I’ll be having a double portion of that monkfish.

What do you mean you can’t get a cup of tea in the Burgh Hall? Here’s tae us, no’ many and they’re a’ deid.

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