Argyll and Bute Council has appointed a new Executive Director to replace the departed Sandy MacTaggart. The responsibilities of the post are for economic development and infrastructure and include the unmanaged CHORD projects.
Economic development in Argyll and Bute is a matter observed theoretically rather than in practice. There is nothing recognisable as an economic development strategy.
- There is the Dunoon linkspan fiasco – built speculatively and in the wrong place.
- There is the Port Askaig development which was wrongly conceived and cost a fortune to address.
- There have been debates but no action in access to the slate islands of Easdale and Luing.
- The most unimaginative sink solution was adopted for more housing in Oban – the dread Dunbeg Corridor, which has every possibility of ruining what’s left of the charm of this once glorious bayside west coast town.
- The plan for Helensburgh;’s CHORD project was to devastate Colquhoun Square with an utterly gross and out of place desert that would have been a skateboard park in a wink.
- The management of the CHORD projects, to date, has been woeful, with little action and a fortune spent on consultants.
It was obvious that what this council needed was some serious project management experience and what this area needed was muscular economic development capability.
So what have we got?
The successful appointee is from the east coast urban capital, from the council that gave Scotland the most expensive and slow maturing tram service in the world – but is Waste Services Manager, not a senior responsibility and in a major city council.
Moreover, waste services are not an issue here in Argyll – although if someone starts to get to grips with the mystery of what happens to salmon morts, it might become more important.
Sally Milne – who has been appointed surprisingly quickly, is being described as ‘a pal of Sally Louden’s', the council’s CEO. She has no senior management experience, no project management experience and no economic developemnt experience.
But hey, this is Argyll and Bute. When has the right experience mattered?