Council chat and a new Head of Economic Development

Kilmory rumours are saying that, after some years of failing to get another top council job in Scotland, Argyll and Bute’s Chief Executive has finally succeeded and is preparing to leave.

A warning note here is that Mrs Loudon is known to have brought to Argyll and Bute the current Executive Director for Community Services and Education Director, Cleland Sneddon – on the alleged promise of becoming her replacement when she moved on.

Mr Sneddon’s performance here has been confidently incompetent. He could be well described by the name of a well known coastal feature of Easdale island, ‘the Rush and Gush’.

Added to this, Mr Sneddon’s documented custom of distorting and manipulating evidence to get what he wants – rather than preparing as meticulously as he ought, would mean that were the CEO’s alleged promise to be fulfilled, it would be, shall we say, an ‘interesting’ appointment.

This rumour on the CEO’s prospects, if it is correct, might explain the recent redistribution of almost all of her responsibilities – in which Head of HR, Jane Fowler lost control of communications to Douglas Hendry – a move unlikely to see the council become a more transparent and a more straightforward communicator. There may now suddenly be a welter of supposedly legal but never defined impediments to various communications. Old habits die hard.

As CEO Sally Loudon’s email to councilors – published here yesterday [9th January] – established, responsibilities for Community Planning and the Single Outcome Agreement had been passed at that time in December to Donald MacVicar, as no Head of Economic Development was then in post, following the departure of Robert Pollock.

Now, however, Fergus Murray is the inhouse appointment as the new Head of Economic Development and Strategic Transportation. While these areas of responsibility do not appear to be his frontline strengths, he is popular with councillors and locally, in Helensburgh where he is based.

He has also been a principled officer in the planning department, dealing straightforwardly with the persistent abuse of planning laws and planners’instructions by a well connected local developer.

His ‘straight bat’ in these matters will be missed by the determined and resourceful local campaigners, Helensburgh Community Woodland Group; but the culture he has established in the local planning office should be a healthy one and capable of maintaining the insistence on the letter and spirit of planning law that he has embedded.

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44 Responses to Council chat and a new Head of Economic Development

  1. Let’s hope that Fergus Murray’s culture of integrity can thrive, and not be drowned by the more sinister culture that’s been exposed by the Castle Toward affair.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 7

  2. Strange how Sally can pick her replacement. I thought appointment of the Chief Exec was a decision for Councillors to make. If this is true, it is typical of Sally’s reign here – the cart leading the horse.

    I seriously hope that lunacy in Argyll & Bute has not gone as far as appointing Cleland Sneddon as the CE. We’re the laughing stock of Scotland as it is.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 27 Thumb down 4

    • The appointments procedure would officially preclude delivery on such a promise.
      But Sneddon, in his own words, is on his 7th local authority now and, after six, could have been expected to know the form on how these matters can be managed.
      After all, if this alleged promise was made, he will have accepted its validity.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 10

      • Newsie, Back to your usula self.

        You make the claim above that “it is known” that Sneddon came here on the promise from Sally that he would be her replacement when she left.

        You’ve produced not one shred of evidence to support this laughable, incredulous and frankly childish claim. Rather you resort to a slur with your sleekit suggestion that [Sneddon] ‘could have been expected to know the form on how these managed’.

        This is rubbish, disguised as innuendo, camouflaged as informed comment and presented as truth. In fact it is none of them. It is however, complete, unadulterated, utter keech.

        You simply have not, and cannot produce, one shred of evidence to support either claim.

        Now can you? Eh?

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 22 Thumb down 12

          • John M. It is Newsie that wrote above. “Mrs Loudon is known to have brought to Argyll and Bute the current Executive Director for Community Services and Education Director, Cleland Sneddon – on the alleged promise of becoming her replacement when she moved on.”

            Now, it is up to Newsie to prove the truth of her statement or, withdraw it and apologies.

            But given her track record she can’t and she won’t.

            That makes it keech. Nothing but made-up keech.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 11

  3. Crazy, “Strange how Sally can pick her replacement” the simple answer is she can’t. It is not within her power even if the alleged rumours that she is leaving turn out to be true.

    And if Newsie has any evidence for her fatuous statement that “Mrs Loudon is known to have brought to Argyll and Bute the current Executive Director for Community Services and Education Director, Cleland Sneddon – on the promise of becoming her replacement when she moved on.” then she should publish it.

    Put up or shut Newsie.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 30 Thumb down 12

    • It is easy if councillors take direction from officers -Pippa Milne.
      Fergus is based in Kilmory but unlike Gus the Dance’s have nothing on him.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  4. Well when did anything go by the book in the council.
    It would seem that for the clowns we have in Kilmory to keep there jobs and cash the appointment of one of there own would be the way to go.
    You might not be to far of the mark newsie.
    Cheers Neil.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 7

  5. Possibly Kilmory rumours putting 2 & 2 together…. but if they are true and blank one ceased employment with the Authority would we then be in a position of blank two becoming acting CEO?

    Blank two then launches an immediate investigation in to Castle Toward and subsequently suspends blank three. Investigations and disciplinary action follows resulting in blank three being dismissed.

    Blank two then has a clear run at blank one’s post and if successful has the freedom of being able to appoint further blanks, namely blank four and five, with blank six already appointed by blank one, for blank two’s previous position and the now vacant blank three.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 5

  6. Thankfully most of the other parts of Scotland can operate without the nonesense going on in Argyll.

    Too many “independent” councillors and Tory types protecting their payments when they should have proper governance over the Chief executive

    The seeds of this is years old – each of the the main combatants have too much info on each other.

    Agree with Simon For Argyll has to produce physical evidence.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 10

  7. Simon re 10/01/14 @ 9:04pm – Ah, you clearly weren’t able to focus on all the words you copied/paste. You highlighted Newsroom’s statement which included the word ‘alleged’. Therefore as they aren’t stating this is actually the case and that it is only alleged why the need to apologise?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 14

    • Incidentally, why would a member of the public with no connections to the council be so irate about such a trivial statement?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 12

    • Well spotted, “If you keep this nonsense up ranting, raving and making baseless accusations you’ll either step too far one day and name someone who will then sue you” best to get the facts right.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  8. John M and John Sinclair, since you are seekers after the truth have a look at my post at 3 above posted at 2:56pm yesterday.

    You’ll see no mention of the word ‘alleged’

    Now look at the post I posted of the same section at 9:04 last night and amazingly the word ‘allegedly’ now appears.

    How did that happen? I didn’t alter anything, I don’t have editing rights in here I cannot amend any of the main articles.

    So who does?

    Who realised that they had made a complete fool of themselves and felt they had better re-write that section?

    Here’s the first clue – it has to be someone with editing rights that changed that second para in the original story to now include the word ‘alleged’. So,in whose interests would that be?

    Here’s the second clue – somebody changed it – try asking Newsie…

    ps I’ve saved a screenshot of my 2:56 pm post – just in case :)

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 7

  9. Who mentioned the 2:56 pm post apart from you.
    “Simon re 10/01/14 @ 9:04pm – Ah, you clearly weren’t able to focus on all the words you copied/paste. You highlighted Newsroom’s statement which included the word ‘alleged’. Therefore as they aren’t stating this is actually the case and that it is only alleged why the need to apologise?”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 8

  10. John, try to understand what has happened here.

    I didn’t alter any of my posts or the original article.

    But I am saying that somebody changed the original article between my 2:56 post and my 9:04 post. They changed original article to now include the word ‘alleged’.

    I am saying categorically that Newsie’s original post claimed that there was a promise that Sneddon’s would get Loudon’s job and no mention of the word ‘alleged’.

    The later insertion of the word ‘alleged’ came hours after the ridiculous nature of this stupid, childish claim had been totally exposed as made up rubbish.

    I didn’t do that. Who did?

    Somebody did.

    *

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 5

    • You’re right, Simon, in that the word was added – but that’s no more than is done (admittedly from the word go) on the BBC News website, to a quite ridiculous extent – presumably on the advice of their lawyers.
      In the case of FA, your reference to a ‘stupid, childish claim’ is itself very childish, very much in the petulant style that you adopt – as far as I can see not so much to uphold fair comment as to jump to deny criticism of the activities of the council executive, wherever you see the chance.
      Defending the vulnerable is laudable, but you seem to be engaged in something rather different.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 9

  11. Robert, thank you for acknowledging and agreeing that the word was added. I appreciate that – especially since we have ‘exchanged words’ ourselves in the past. You’ll also be aware that change was not acknowledged by whoever changed it nor the reason for the change explained.

    It has to be someone with editing rights though….It obviously served someone purpose to do so but it would have been nice if they had drawn attention to the change. Not to draw attention to the change merely serves to reinforce my long held suspicion that many comments emanating from Newsie/FA are neither fair, even-handed, nor neutral.

    On a personal basis I find Newsie’s convoluted verbosity, her addiction to verbiage and her pompous pronouncements much in need of being exposed and admit to taking some pleasure in doing so. I also think Newsie makes unnecessary, unwarranted and quite personal attacks on a range of people – most of whom are not in a position to respond. She also appears to a have a particular bee in her bonnet about the Council, members and officers. So if you see me defending them often (most of the time asking her for evidence to substantiate her wilder claims) then that is because she appears to have made it her OCD life-work to attack these people unrelentingly.

    She has a track record of mistakes, lies, evasion, deflection, denial and yet finds it hard to admit she has ever been wrong. She has praised numerous public figures on here (not me) and then attacked them later as her flighty view changes yet again.

    And you might be right my comments may well be pretty puerile and childish. But I found that a pretty effective way of bursting the pretentious balloon that is Newsie.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 11

    • Could For Argyll confirm that they have changed their post and if so why?
      In the interest of integrity and honesty.

      come on NEWSIE you have read this –did you change or Dixon -spain?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

      • A fair question, but going ‘back to basics’ it’s about whether or not a council chief executive could’ve lined up a pal to take over the reins.
        I’d like to think that this is unlikely, but we’re talking about Argyll & Bute Council here, and to my mind it’s already been established that the councillors are neither properly consulted nor properly informed by some or all of the senior executive and leadership with regard to council actions and inactions for which – as far as I can gather – councillors could be held responsible, and we could be held financially liable.
        Happy days.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

      • “”h20 says:
        January 11, 2014 at 5:21 pm
        Could For Argyll confirm that they have changed their post and if so why?

        In the interest of integrity and honesty.”"

        IRSA remember, what have you, the worst offender on here got to do with integrity and honesty?? IRSA you’ve done it and didn’t!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

          • “vv@H2O post 15:31 today, Were they foreign gents speaking English or British gents speaking English (not unusual)?, so what’s your point, I know there are people on here who, without razor fencing, would be delighted to give you the same message in the language of your choice, whether you were approaching a maypole, ribbon, festive tinsel or just their space. Could use the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet but that would upset poor Andy, suffice to say that next time you read or hear IRSA you’ll know what is`meant IRSA there now”
            A reply to one of H2O’s worthless posts late last year!!
            PS it’s just done it again above, case closed!
            edited 2059 Sat 11th
            H2O posted that whilst wandering the hills near Arrochar two “english “speaking gents told him to Foxtrot Oscar when he approched a “razor” fence, Andy objected to my use of IRSA in an earlier post,hence my reply. Not under the influence of any thing yet Rob, but extremely Passadoblied Oscar at your snide suggestion, par for the course; in reply to one of your posts above I bet you won every swimming trophy on the go in your days before becoming a road runner, Kass IRSA! get it now :) PS I’ll be having a pint of lager before either of you vacates your “pleasure” cave or goes to get more tissues!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

          • Kassandra – nope, it seems to be the ramblings of an acronumpty, possibly a wee bit the worse for wear on Saturday evenings, going by the quality of previous posts.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8

    • Conspicuous lack of response from newsie here. She is presumably “struggling against the prevailing winds of rationality” © newsie.

      Or, as Andrew Argyle would have it, – “irrationality” – interpretation – in her mind, that is.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

    • @ Simon says:
      January 11, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      She has a track record of one-sided comment, unfair slanting of news, personal prejudice and propagandist output on certain political issues, and quite good reporting on non-controversial subjects. Which is a pity, as Argyll could do with objective reporting on all fronts. Unfortunately newsie is not up to the job of doing this.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

      • Maybe Kassandra, but we still keep coming back because it’s the only place that these issues are aired and recorded, even if we might disagree and a good proportion of it may be b*ll**s.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

          • Of all the sites you decide to frequent Kassandra, you choose one that you loath….

            Can you confirm that the description “one-sided comment, unfair slanting of news, personal prejudice and propagandist output on certain political issues” was indeed actually aimed towards newsnetscotland and you just got your wee self mixed up?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

    • Simon,

      Why would newsroom have praised you then attacked you later? Her focus is primarily on the council and central government and you have always gone to great, possibly excessive lengths, to deny any association with the Council. Although I now see you are claiming ‘public figure’ status. Should be congratulating you on a recent appointment or maybe you have always been a little closer to your council than you have previously claimed.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

    • I’m not getting what your knickers are in a twist about Simon. Whether it was changed or not is actually fairly irrelevant.

      I’ve only started digesting this article and the comments (from bottom to top) and when I found the cause of your issue, I was rather underwhemed. I fail to see why you repeatedly take a tiny, small and inconsequential part of something and make it out like it’s a huge scandal, whilst completely ignoring the real scandal that it the A&B council. Your behaviour on here is phony to say the least, that is becoming fairly clear.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

      • It’s a tried and tested defence, used instinctively by politicians – find any weakness you have a chance of making stick and hammer away at it to distract attention away from the real issue.

        We see it on the telly almost every time a politician is interviewed, they attempt to ‘body-swerve’ the question by insistently talking about something else until the interviewer gives up. Fortunately, we have people like Andrew Neil and Jeremy Paxman to ‘put them through the wringer.’

        Michael Howard: “Jeremy, that’s thirty five times you’ve asked me the same question!”
        Paxman: “And it’s thirty five times you’ve not answered it!”

        http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Uwlsd8RAoqI&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DUwlsd8RAoqI

        Enjoy!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

      • Jamie, seriously??
        If you are so underwhelmed when Newsie cheats, lies and refuses to admit to altering her article – to try put her in a better light – then there’s nothing I can do to help you.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

        • “altering her article” did she alter your post, what may of happened is you just copied and pasted for your 2nd post, that content had been changed so as you did not read it,that changed content undermined your own argumenmt. Best read through your whole post before hitting the post comment button. I have gone back and altered a comment I have made when needing to be corrected. Should there be a better audit trail, I say yes what about you, any solutions.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. @ Jamie Black says:
    January 12, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    FA provides the only (as far as I can tell) Argyll-centric news blog on the internet. As far as non-contentious items go, newsie does fine, and is a positive force in highlighting local initiatives and opportunities.

    When it comes to political reporting FA does itself no favours by it’s partisan stance, and I like to do my small part in combatting that stance. If FA was prejudiced in the opposite way you would presumably do the same. No confusion involved.

    (And see Keith Stanger above).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

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