I agree that it is good practice for …

Comment posted Reader queries strange council advertising by Integrity? Not in the ConDemAll.

I agree that it is good practice for councillors to hold regular surgeries to allow people to meet and discuss issues with them and I applaud those that find the time do this. I am guessing they are often not that well used be people (although could be wrong and maybe some of our councillors could provide info on this) but it is right that there is regular opportunity for those that do wish to make use of it.

Given that then I think Cllr Walsh should be applauded for holding regular ones as should others that do likewise (I know for instance that Cllr Freeman holds surgeries once a month, every month). The opportunity to call or e-mail councillors is, of course, always there but I don’t always find this is as useful due to the lack of face to face contact and opportunity to discuss and debate. I would also say that some councillors are better than others when it comes to responding to e-mail contact. I find that most (though not all) will respond in some way or form but not always to the questions posed or in a manner that encourages further involvement. There are some who I have always found very responsive to e-mails (and I include ones within the administration, the SNP, Argyll First, the real independents and also non aligned) and a number who fail miserably to offer any credible response.

I also think Simon is right that Cllr Walsh probably will be returned in May. My hope is that he is returned as an opposition councillor rather than an administration one.

Recent comments by Integrity? Not in the ConDemAll

  • Stuart Hill challenges Supreme Court to test security of jurisdiction for Shetland
    You may well be correct Thorfinn. It was a little while ago I read about it so there may well have been a subsequent council decision since.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond.

  • Stuart Hill challenges Supreme Court to test security of jurisdiction for Shetland
    Thorfinn

    My apologies for going totally off track with this post but I was wondering whether you might be able to provide a little insight into how the people of the Shetland Isles are reacting to the council’s consideration of selling off Sella Ness.

    No worries if you don’t want to respond. I’m just curious, no hidden agenda.

  • Russell writes to councillors on Castle Toward decision tomorrow as some are denied a vote
    Oban Worthy

    Apologies for the delay responding, I only just noticed your response. You are correct that there is some flexibility which is why I said predominantly. There are always gray areas over whether an item is revenue expenditure or capital expenditure and I would wager there isn’t a council in the country who don’t have some revenue expenditure funded from capital.

    The classic example used in old accountancy days is replacement windows. If you replace like for like it is arguable revenue expenditure as it is maintenance but if you replace single glazed for double glazed then it is an enhancement therefore capital. However the argument for it being revenue falls down a bit if new windows extend the useful life of the building (which they would do if they old ones were in such disrepair).

    However the extent to which it can be done is limited and I don’t see dumping a £750k capital receipt into delivery of services as something which could be classified as being ‘around the margins’

    Sokay, in answer to your question about Mike Russell’s statement I certainly wouldn’t be minded to make a call on reasoning for it. Only he could answer that. As far as I know he doesn’t have an extensive background in finance/accountancy and the restrictions on capital receipts and accountancy rules about revenue and capital budgets are a bit of a nerdy techie thing!!

    Anyway this is all a bit after the lord mayor’s show now as the decision has been made (the wrong one in my opinion). Whilst I say the wrong one I say so based on the arguments put forward on here by people who are far closer to it than I am (and also people who I have respect for). It would be a better scenario if those councillors who opposed the sale would be forthcoming about their counter arguments. However as we have seen many times in the past elected members ed by the nose by Cllr Walsh are rarely forthcoming in their opinions

  • Russell writes to councillors on Castle Toward decision tomorrow as some are denied a vote
    It is maybe worth highlighting that the sale of the asset and the money received (whether it be £750k, £1.75m or something in between) has no impact on the revenue budget as has been suggested on here. Councils are restricted in the way they spend receipts from the sale of assets.
    Predominantly they are only allowed to use capital receipts on further capital expenditure and not for routine revenue expenditure – the revenue and capital budgets are very distinct (albeit with some overlap due to the need for the revenue budget to take account of incurred interest costs and ongoing maintenance of capital assets).

    So the £1m ‘discount’ will not impact on the revenue budget of any area. What does impact the revenue budget right now is the ongoing maintenance costs which have been mentioned many times.

    Whether it is a paper transaction or not is debatable. I am assuming the valuation of £1.75m is based on open market value however that might not be the case. If it was available for sale on the open market would it realistically fetch £1.75m and would there be potential buyers? If the answer to either of those questions is ‘no’ then it isn’t really a £1m discount.

    Someone else suggested a risk that a buyer could get future planning permission on the land and turn round a tidy profit. As far as I know there would be nothing preventing the council putting a clawback clause into the sale contract which would protect them against such an event. Some sort of sliding clawback (i.e. if the buyer resells the asset for a profit within 3 years then 70% of any profit goes back to the council, between 3 and 6 years, 40%, 10 years 20% etc etc). Such a clawback has been used by Scottish Ministers in the past so I assume it would be an option open to the council.

  • Outright win for John Armour and SNP in South Kintyre
    The low turnout doesn’t surprise me. I think the referendum has exhausted people of politics temporarily and whilst I do think there will be a short term increase in the support for SNP candidates in local elections as a show of support this is slightly tempered in A&B because, quite frankly, the local SNP in A&B have been something of a shambles.

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10 Responses to I agree that it is good practice for …

  1. Back to the source
    http://www.helensburghadvertiser.co.uk/publicnotices/publicnotices/

    Three adverts in one. Planning / Surgery / Planning

    Where else? Same advert as
    http://www.dunoon-observer.com/index.php/public-notices
    possibly only showing this week, updated next.

    Maybe saving money in bulk, maybe sneaking in an advert for surgery between public notices.

    Maybe Sally forgot to pull the Surgery from the Helensburgh paper version.

    Maybe take the opportunity, it’s a last chance to see Dick before May, look at yesterday’s man, say goodbye to him. Thanks, Sally

    Why did it happen?
    I had a quote in mind, a better version for Kilmory is

    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don’t rule out malice. (Wikipedia)

    Perhaps it was frugality. perhaps Copy and Paste. Maybe they should have kept their Communications Officer in the loop.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Walet B – what a load of tosh “Maybe take the opportunity, it’s a last chance to see Dick before May, look at yesterday’s man, say goodbye to him”

    Wanna bet if Dick walsh stands – he’ll win. :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • I’m no great supporter of Dick Walsh but…..he at least does hold surgeries, giving people a chance to have their say. Unlike his fellow councillors for Cowal who ” are available ” if you want to ‘phone them. Do the non surgery holding councillors have their adverts paid for them ? Can we call them and reverse the charges as they receive a generous telephone allowance ?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Agreed. Actually holding regular surgeries in Innellan shows a respect for the job.

    To be fair to the rural councillors though, the problem is where you actually hold a surgery with a small and widely dispersed local population. In that scenario, being always available is a decent response to the reality.

    The reverse-charge phone call is an attractively mischievous note.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Councillor Walsh also holds surgeries in Dunoon.
      All areas have community centres or a village hall or even a hotel room where councillors could meet their public. If you have a point to make you would travel to see him (her) face to face. I was once told by someone from Castle Kilmory that councillors were under no obligation to talk to anybody. So there…………

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. I agree that it is good practice for councillors to hold regular surgeries to allow people to meet and discuss issues with them and I applaud those that find the time do this. I am guessing they are often not that well used be people (although could be wrong and maybe some of our councillors could provide info on this) but it is right that there is regular opportunity for those that do wish to make use of it.

    Given that then I think Cllr Walsh should be applauded for holding regular ones as should others that do likewise (I know for instance that Cllr Freeman holds surgeries once a month, every month). The opportunity to call or e-mail councillors is, of course, always there but I don’t always find this is as useful due to the lack of face to face contact and opportunity to discuss and debate. I would also say that some councillors are better than others when it comes to responding to e-mail contact. I find that most (though not all) will respond in some way or form but not always to the questions posed or in a manner that encourages further involvement. There are some who I have always found very responsive to e-mails (and I include ones within the administration, the SNP, Argyll First, the real independents and also non aligned) and a number who fail miserably to offer any credible response.

    I also think Simon is right that Cllr Walsh probably will be returned in May. My hope is that he is returned as an opposition councillor rather than an administration one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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