Joyce White, Ronald Dinnie and Raymond Walsh.
By Bill Heaney
West Dunbartonshire Council’s announcement of a big shake-up of the roles and titles of their management team has caused a stir and led to anger and confusion amongst ordinary council staff members.
And left many people scratching their heads and wondering how the reduced management of a basket case council which has been passing itself off as efficient when its management code of conduct and contract procurement rules have been ignored for years can cope with more work in disciplines where they have no experience.
For example, how can Malcolm Bennie, the current director of communications and marketing, be expected to take charge bin collections, street sweeping and so on if he has no experience of same.
And why has the name of Raymond Walsh, the director of roads, dropped out of the management team and been replaced by someone from Inverclyde Council on a salary of £80,000 a year.
No one at the Council nor any member of the SNP administration will explain this to us since The Democrat is banned and boycotted by both.
This is despite the fact that they jettisoned custom and practice in the way they deal with the media without moving anything formally to support that at a full council meeting.
Social media has been hopping with a debate on this since yesterday when The Democrat revealed exclusively that the shake-up had been announced by Chief Executive Joyce White..
Community worker Danielle Donnachie asked: “Can anyone tell me if WDC has now officially got a shared
service [policy] in place?
“I know at one of the meetings I had attended there was a mention of shared services with Inverclyde, East Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute councils for roads and recycling services.
“I hope this is not the case. Shared services is used by ‘businesses’ to supposedly streamline their services.
“In fact it has the complete opposite effect and ends up costing more time and money.”
Anna McLeod replied: “Roads are now joint service with Inverclyde.”
And Harry McCormack added: “That is correct but we don’t have shared services with the workforce or anything else.
“I really don’t know what she [the new roads boss from Inverclyde] does.
“Our goal was that our workforce didn’t want to share services with Inverclyde.
“That is what we got and just to let some people know we as the joint trade unions would not and could not sign up to anything without out members’ agreement.”
He added: “We couldn’t understand why the council were going to employ someone on £80.000 plus a year to do what?”
Mr McCormack said there had been talks between the trade unions and the management about shared services but nothing had been agreed and would never be agreed until this was put to the workforce for a vote.
This was to have been done by Ronnie Dinnie, Strategic Lead for Environment and Neighbourhood Services, who became ill has retired from the Council.
Harry McCormack says said the other council managers involved in that were Angela Wilson, Victoria Rodgers Ronnie Dinnie and a lawyer along with Cllr Jonathon McColl, the council leader.
Cleansing will now be shared with Communications management.
He said: “[There were to be] no shared services without the workforce agreement and that is the facts from that meeting. [It was agreed] Ronnie Dinnie would address the workforce [but] that never happened.”
However, Sean McFall disagreed – “Surely if shared services were the most efficient way to go then that’s what should happen regardless of what the workforce thought.
“Shoddy work and delays have long been the hallmark of WDC’s Roads department, so could shared services really be any worse?”
Mr McCormack replied: “The roads department was only to be first [to be shared].
“All services were to be up for shared services. This is Scottish government pushing for this.
“We were told by the council leader if we didn’t want it now that the government will do it their way before the next election, just like the police and fire service.”
Danielle Donnachie said: “[This is] the next step to privatisation. Everyone should be against this. It’s not a good thing. The title transformation smells like a restructure.
“As most people know, restructuring is generally getting rid of low level staff whilst finding ‘new’ jobs for senior management, whilst the rest that remain need to pick up the work of those made redundant.
“Most work places are top heavy with management! In a lot of cases [there are] too many chiefs. And, in the case of roads, most of the work there is done by contractors.”