West Dunbartonshire Council Chief Executive Joyce White, Council HQ in Church Street, Dumbarton, Cllr Jim Bollan, of the Community Party, and Clydebank Town Hall above.
EXCLUSIVE by BILL HEANEY
West Dunbartonshire Council’s chief executive Joyce White today announced another shake-up in the Church Street management team.
And inevitably, she has come under fire for her aversion to consultation on these important matters, which will be carried out under powers delegated to her by the basket case SNP administration led by Cllr Jonathan McColl.
In a memo to staff and councillors, she wrote: “Last month I updated you on changes to our senior management team with Strategic Director Richard Cairns taking on a new seconded role on the ‘Clyde Mission’ initiative and Jim McAloon, Strategic Lead for Regeneration, retiring from the council on December 31.”
Her memo to staff and councillors states: “This has created an opportunity to review our senior management structure to ensure it best serves the current and future needs of the organisation and our communities as we respond to and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Perhaps no one has told her that the Covid-19 pandemic is ongoing and that, far from recovering from it, West Dunbartonshire is still suffering greatly from the disease.
The memo adds: “We are currently finalising a new structure which will see a new service area of Supplies, Distribution and Property created, incorporating Procurement, Building Services, Estate and Asset Management and Corporate Landlord, and a subsequent announcement will be made on the post holder leading this area.”
Procurement policy – or the absence of it – was at the centre of the storm that blew up in the Council when senior members of the management team were accused of breaching rules by wining, dining and playing golf with at least one contractor whose company was awarded lucrative jobs valued at £millions.
There was evidence of fine dining in posh hotels and restaurants, champagne and large bottles of Spanish wine being consumed.
Although, the officers were cleared by the police of the serious charges of graft and corruption, Audit Scotland said it was possible that the Council had lost an inestimable amount of money which could well run into £millions.
Ms White’s memo says: “”In a further change Economic Development will transfer to Regulatory Services and all existing Strategic Leads will be re-designated as a Chief Officer.
“Throughout the pandemic, I have worked closely and directly with the Strategic Leadership Group and this has enabled us as a Council to respond swiftly and effectively to the challenges we have faced.”
There is no mention of increased salaries for those people taking up the Chief Officer posts, but it is forecast that these will be substantial.
However, the memo states further: “The new structure builds on that approach, making significant savings in the process and will ensure we continue to improve the lives of the residents who live in West Dunbartonshire in the years ahead.
“Advance planning is underway with a view to concluding the new model by the end of December. I will share full details with you in advance of this.”
Asked to comment on this, the recently suspended Cllr Jim Bollan, of the Community Party, said: ” This was all done by Mrs White under delegated powers. The Council was not consulted.
“If significant savings have been made on the management structure, the savings when the workforce are shuffled about as a result will be eye watering.”
The £42,000 a year plus, part-time council leader, Cllr Jonathan McColl, pictured above right, who is also a member of the Health Board, has continually refused to comment to The Democrat on anything and constantly risks being reported by Mrs White to the Standards Commission and disciplined in an effort to shut him up.